Atlantic salmon production is reaching record levels, prompting some producers to predict a worldwide glut. With demand sure to decline with wild salmon offerings, the summer outlook is interesting to say the least. Chilean production is now in excess of levels prior to the infectious salmon anemia (ISA) outbreak, which severely damaged the industry in 2007. Chile is primed to overtake Norway as the world’s largest salmon producer. All this salmon is seemingly good news for the end users price wise, but without price support to cover production cost, salmon producers will go out of business or be absorbed.
Our premium Scottish salmon arrives directly from the farms twice a week. Jet fresh, these 14-18 lb. fish can be bought whole, dressed, or filleted by our expert cutters. Coming soon will be another premium Atlantic salmon, Skuna Bay, exclusively distributed by Seattle Fish Company. Handcrafted to exacting standards, placed in tamper-proof boxes, individually signed off by the farmer who packed your box, opened only by the chef, Skuna Bay reaches quality levels never before seen in the industry.
Colorado trout fillets are now available for the discerning chef who doesn’t mind paying more for a local product. Idaho trout is still the king, and our longtime partners assure constant supply for the busy summer months.Trout is on every menu and rightfully so with excellent value. We supply whole dressed, boned, and fillets in all sizes, red meat or rainbow. Regular shipments of steelhead add to our extensive trout supply.
Farm-raised Mississippi catfish is sustainable and one of the most reasonably priced fish available. Safety standards for catfish are very high, and farmers are pushing for even higher regulations. Imports have no such regulation. Ask for U.S.-raised farmed catfish. Your Seattle Fish sales reps will find the perfect fit for your retail store or restaurant; sized shank fillets, catfish nuggets, or whole skinned cats. Our farmers assure volume for summertime ads or specials.
Wild salmon, specifically Copper River, dominates the West Coast offerings. Scheduled to open this week, the main concern for Copper River is timing of ice breakup in the river. If it occurs during opening day, the fleet will be forced to avoid ice, which could damage gear. Additionally proper placement of sonar is necessary for fish counts. I guess if it were easy, anticipation would not be as great. While Copper dominates this week, other Alaska fisheries produce excellent wild salmon. Resurrection Bay will show volumes of sockeye beginning May 25, peaking early June with a forecast of 775,000 lbs. Prince William Sound is another May sockeye fishery giving way to the largest sockeye catch in Kodiak projected at 2.4 million lbs. King fisheries open concurrently, and the Bodega Bay to San Francisco troll king catch is in full swing, hindered somewhat by current weather conditions. Wild California kings made it to the retail counters and fine dining restaurants for Mother’s Day. Look for more volume this week.
Wild salmon is the buzzword, but the ground fish boats are producing adequate quantities. After a harsh winter, rock cod, petrale sole, black cod, shallow water Dover sole, and Pacific cod are available and reasonably priced. Fresh Alaska shrimp meat season is in full swing, and Amaebi (sweet shrimp) gears up in June. Halibut price and volume is steady, somewhat surprising in light of the reduced quota this year. Halibut sizing is definitely less, bearing out early reports of the biomass becoming smaller the past 20 years. Further south to San Diego, corvina, scheduled to dwindle, is still available. Baja grouper, yellowtail, Mexican stone crabs, and bay scallops complete other southern Pacific selections. Mexican shrimp pricing remains steady to softer for midsizes, paralleling the weaker import market for sizes 26-30 count per lb. and smaller. On the domestic shrimp scene, larger sizes continue to develop with discounts for U-15 shell on shrimp.
East coast ground fishing is weak, and prices are firm; haddock is soft and spawning. Sole and flounder are adequate, as is cod, albeit high priced. Wild black bass, highly prized, is on our menu today and at a relative bargain compared to normal pricing. When east coast black bass is offered, plan a special. Your customers will be delighted. Wild stripe bass is spotty, and prices are very high. Expect little supply until the Virginia waters yield catch. The northern season with the big 20 lb. plus bombers opens first of July.
Scallop landings are good with more than 500,000 lbs. landed last week. Pricing on U-10 remains steady, and 10-20s have settled down after a recent spike. Customers are taking advantage of 10-20 and U-12 sizing to mitigate food cost. Most of the big stuff is coming out of the Channel, which has a more pinkish color than other areas, but from colder water, producing a firmer scallop. Closed Area I and II and Nantucket Lightship still scheduled for a June 15 opening, barring last-minute changes like last year when opening day was delayed until July 5. Prices are expected to remain constant, and supply will be good for your summer menus and ads. Livelobster prices will experience a small downward trend through Memorial Day. Our bugs are happily packed in individual cell cloud pack boxes, full meat, with hard shells. Ask your Seattle Fish Company salesperson about our box in, box out specials. We have the sizes, availability, and quality you require.
Warmer temperatures are not friendly to shellfish, especially mussels. A little care can alleviate problems. Our mussel vendors are shifting their bulk packs to less volume so more ice can be packed around the load, ensuring pristine arrival to our dock, where we take extra care to store immediately in our chill room. Even a few minutes in a warm kitchen can compromise a mussel’s longevity. Keep your mussels iced and rotated with proper drainage.
Good news on the oyster front. Malpeques are available from the northwest shore of Prince Edward Island. Malpeques are considered wild but are raised under the watchful eye of dedicated oystermen. Fed by the nutrient-rich waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Malpeques feature a briny start with a clean finish. West coast oyster supply is fair, but demand is down this time of year. As the summer season progresses, we will face spawn conditions and limited choices. Rest assured, we will continue to supply the best quality and most variety available. We would recommend flexibility with your oyster menus. Our shellfish experts can guide you through the rough oyster waters, allowing the best weekly selections for your discerning customers.
Clams are filter feeders, meaning they stay in one place sucking up water and organisms while filtering out sand and debris. There are more than 2,000 kinds of clams, but they come in two groups, hard shell and soft shell. Our hard shells come from Dennis Massachusetts, always consistently sized and excellent quality. We carry littlenecks, top necks, cherrystones, and pasta clams, ensuring the perfect size for any application. Soft-shell clams, not in the sense of softness to touch but a thinner, more brittle shell, grow in tidal flats and estuaries on both coasts. Our primary soft-shell offering is the sweet-tasting west coast manila clam. Seattle Fish Company is your full source for all shellfish.
Sourcing gulf tuna or any domestic and imported tuna has been extremely difficult the past two weeks. Lack of supply is due in no small measure to recent shortage and high prices in the frozen market. This week should bring relief in the tuna market with volume from the Gulf and Hawaii.
Our Gulf Wild fishermen are busy and committed to providing Seattle Fish Company with tagged snapper, grouper, and tilefish. Our partnership with the alliance is resolute to assure comeback of the reef fishing industry. Other Gulf selections include swordfish, more available this week, and mahi, less available. This is the time of year many restaurants take mahi off their menus due to increasing prices. Live crabs, fresh crabmeat, and fresh shrimp show light harvest, typical of May. Our bayou suppliers predict much better volume in the coming weeks. Speaking of crab, pasteurized pricing is steady to lower. Overseas production will, however, start to diminish as conservation efforts reduce volume, bringing price reduction to a halt.
Summer is around the corner; the fish are biting, and now is the time to put pickerel (walleye), or lake whitefish on your menu. Mild, flakey, and with great flavor, freshwater fish from the Great Lakes are menu favorites. Favorable supply and price stability should continue into the fall.
We have reconnected with our Hawaiian buyers. Greater volume on the Honolulu auction is providing more buy options, but tuna prices remain strong due to worldwide shortage. Look for value in hebi (spearfish), opah, and marlin. Hawaiian swordfish catch is showing some life as some beautiful domestic fish landed in Denver recently.
Seattle Fish Company’s sustainability efforts are well documented, founded by our effort and desire to do it right. Our new alliance with Gourmet Mushrooms from Sebastapol, California, provides a truly sustainable, all-natural array of mushroom. U.S.-grown and certified organic, our mushrooms are raised year-round with stable pricing, making menu planning easy. Ask your company rep for details and place your orders.
Director of Purchasing