Editor’s picks: Remembering Stevens

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

• The U.S. seafood industry lost a champion this week when a plane carrying former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and eight other passengers struck a mountainside near Dillingham, in southwestern Alaska. The crash killed Stevens, his former aide and Supreme Alaska Seafoods co-founder William “Bill” Phillips and three other passengers. Stevens was an architect of the most significant piece of fisheries-management legislation in U.S. history: the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. In his “Stevens’ legacy is lasting” commentary, SeaFood Business Associate Editor James Wright reflected on a conversation he had with Stevens in late 2006 about the law’s reauthorization and its impact on fisheries management worldwide.

• A battle is brewing over the North Atlantic mackerel resource, pitting Iceland and the Faeroe Islands against Norway and the European Union. This week, the Faroe Shipowners’ Association claimed the Faeroes had “no choice” but to set its own quota when faced with exclusion from this year’s mackerel agreement between Norway and the EU. Will the fight break out into a full-fledged war, as British access to Iceland’s cod fishing grounds did three times between 1958 and 1976? SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Nicki Holmyard examined the controversy in her “Mackerel wars” commentary.

• With all the bad news surrounding the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster and its impact on the region’s seafood industry, it was relieving to see some good news in the mainstream media this week, as SeafoodSource Assistant Editor April Forristall detailed in her Media Watch commentary this week. President Barack Obama played up Gulf seafood and again assured the public that it’s safe to eat at a ceremony honoring the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl victory. This weekend’s 10th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans — won by Florida’s Dean Max, executive chef of 3030 Ocean — also provided a much-needed boost to the battered Gulf seafood industry. And in an Associated Press report, picked up by more than 130 media outlets, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration verified that the chemical dispersants used to break up oil in the Gulf are unlikely to accumulate in seafood and pose no threat to public health.

• Bornstein Seafoods would add more shrimp-peeling machines if a 20 percent European Union tariff on Pacific coldwater shrimp was eliminated, SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Chris Loew reported this week after visiting the Astoria, Ore., company, which currently operates four shrimp-peeling machines but has cooking capacity for 10.

• A virus known simply as OsHV-1 has British oyster growers on edge. A few weeks ago, the disease arrived in England for the first time, discovered at the Seasalter Shellfish site on the Kent coast. But its ability to spread quickly and uncontrollably has British oyster farmers even more worried. A few years ago, the virus killed juvenile oysters in only one or two sites in France. Now it’s prevalent in almost every oyster-growing area in the country, SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Jason Holland explained in his “Waiting game” commentary this week.

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