Editor’s picks: Ice fiasco

By

Steven Hedlund

Published on
March 31, 2010

Here’s a look at this week’s must-read SeafoodSource news stories and commentaries:

• It’s legal — and commonplace — for processors to coat seafood with an ice glazing, but state and federal laws prohibit including the weight of the ice in the labeled weight of seafood. That’s the crux of a four-week, 17-state investigation that pulled more than 21,000 packages of short-weight seafood from supermarket shelves. Now that state authorities are serious about cracking down on seafood fraud, so is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — it’s reportedly reviewing the investigation’s results and determining whether to take action.

• Last week, the U.S. State Department cracked down on Mexico’s shrimp fishery for failing to use turtle excluder devices (TEDs) properly and inadvertently trapping sea turtles, prohibiting wild shrimp imports from Mexico. But the ban, which doesn’t include farmed shrimp, isn’t expected to impact the U.S. shrimp supply significantly because Mexico’s shrimp fishery won’t pick up again until the summer, and the U.S. and Mexican governments are already working to get shrimp trawlers up to code by the fall. Mexico is the United States’ No. 6 shrimp supplier, behind Thailand, Indonesia, Ecuador, Vietnam and China.

• There is no doubt that Indonesia has the wherewithal to massively increase its seafood production, with a sea area of 7.9 million square kilometers, four times that of its land area. But can the country move up the ranks in terms of seafood exports, where it languishes at No. 11 worldwide, behind Canada, the Netherlands and Spain. In his commentary, “Is Indonesia a sleeping seafood giant?” SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Mike Urch examines whether Indonesian Fisheries Minister Fadel Muhammad will follow through on his pledge to allocate more resources toward developing the country’s fisheries and seafood infrastructure.

• In the European market, the ready-to-eat seafood cocktail category has been sleepy as of late. But The King Prawn Co. hopes to wake it up with the launch of its Crayfish with a Dijon & Dill Mayo. “The new cocktail range has appealed to existing users, awoken those who have previously bought into the category and has attracted new users to the category,” Paul Byrne, Big Prawn’s commercial director, told SeafoodSource. The product, already available at Tesco and Waitrose, is one of 43 finalists in the 2010 Seafood Prix d’Elite new products at the European Seafood Exposition late this month.

• Large-scale aquaculture operations often take heat from the environmental community. But, according to Scottish researchers, size doesn’t always matter when it comes to fish farms. Following their investigation of 50 Scottish fish farms, University of Aberdeen scientists concluded that the size of a fish farm should not be the only yardstick when measuring aquaculture’s environmental footprint.

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