Editor’s picks: Mackerel war

By

Steven Hedlund

Published on
August 25, 2010

Here’s a look at this week’s can’t-miss SeafoodSource news stories and commentaries:

• Is the end of the “mackerel war” in sight? The week began on a terse note when Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson accused Iceland and the Faeroes of “plundering” North Atlantic mackerel stocks and called for an immediate EU blockade of Icelandic and Faroese ships and goods. But, as the week progressed, each side expressed some interest in reaching an agreement. The spokesperson for European Union Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki told SeafoodSource that she’s prepared to sit down with Icelandic and Faroese fisheries officials, while Icelandic Fisheries Minister Jon Bjarnason told the British press that he’s open to talks but that Iceland’s interests “must be recognized and respected.”

• In his “Feed your children well” commentary on Thursday, SeaFood Business Associate Editor James Wright talked to University of Illinois food-science professor Susan Brewer about what she’s doing to get parents to serve their young kids more nutritious foods, like salmon. Brewer’s research paper on including salmon roe in baby food products was published in the May issue of the Journal of Food Science and she has another research paper due to appear in an upcoming issue.

• On the acquisition front, Morpol again made headlines on Wednesday when it landed organic salmon farmer Westray Scotland Ltd. for GBP 3.28 million, a week after purchasing a 100 percent interest in Mainstream Scotland from Cermaq and taking its first step into salmon farming. On Tuesday, Framtakssjóður Íslands acquired Vestia Holdings, the parent company of Icelandic Seafood Group, from Icelandic bank Landsbankinn for ISK 19.5 billion. And on Thursday, Marine Farms announced that it put its cobia-farming operations in Belize on the market.

• There was a lot of glitz and glamour surrounding the opening of the Seafood Institute of Vietnam earlier this month, said SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Mike Urch in his “Glitz, glamour and pangasius” commentary on Monday. Hubbub aside, the facility, paid for by Pham Thi Dieu Hien, president and CEO of Vietnamese pangasius producer Bianfishco, has the potential to improve the quality of the country’s seafood products and the country’s image abroad, explained Urch.

• U.S. per-capita seafood consumption figures are usually released in mid- to late July. But this year, they won’t be available until September. Personnel turnover at NOAA’s Fisheries Statistics Division, which assembles the report, and the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster have slowed the process of collecting and processing domestic landings statistics and import and export data this year. Though many consumers are still wary of the safety of Gulf seafood, researchers at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in Boston on Tuesday asserted that seafood caught in the Gulf has not been found to contain levels of oil or hydrocarbons that would be of concern to human health.

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