Editor’s picks: Risky business


James Wright, Senior Editor

Published on
October 7, 2009

Want to know what happened in the seafood industry this week but you’re pressed for time (and you don’t want to pay for the news)? Here’s a quick glance at the must-read stories, commentaries and market reports posted this week on SeafoodSource:

-Sysco and India’s Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) inked a co-branding agreement that will have the foodservice distributor promoting MPEDA Portico-branded black tiger shrimp in the United States. With the proliferation of Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) production throughout Asia, India hopes to carve out a niche in the U.S. market with black tigers, which not long ago were the shrimp of choice. India’s seafood exports in 2008-09 have hit an all-time high of 602,835 million tons.

- Contributing editor Mike Urch says U.K. consumers are getting mixed messages about cod, stocks of which in the Barents Sea aren’t as dire as has been previously reported. So there’s no shortage, but the mainstream media seems reluctant to tell the story. “This may seem a cynical viewpoint,” wrote Urch, “but time and time again the seafood industry is painted black.” That’s not cynical, Mike. That’s accurate, and it’s true on both sides of the pond.

- All signs point to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute becoming the Marine Stewardship Council client for Alaska salmon’s sustainable certification process. We won’t know for sure until early December if ASMI will take the reins from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, which last year said that it could no longer continue in that capacity. But as I wrote in Wednesday’s commentary, “Seafood symbiosis,” it should.

- I have questions about this group’s science and severe reservations about whether cautioning consumers away from tuna and oysters has much to do with the public interest. Nevertheless, the Center for Science in the Public Interest reported this week that tuna and oysters are among the “10 riskiest foods” available, basing its warning on reported outbreaks of foodborne illnesses — but only for foods overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which conveniently leaves beef and poultry out of the picture. The National Fisheries Institute alerted its members of the report, into which it poked plenty of holes.

- Don’t look now, but the holidays are coming up fast. But if you’re a U.S. shrimp importer, you already knew that. This is the peak season for U.S. shrimp imports and demand begins to swell, but as the SeafoodSource market report revealed this week, the supply situation in Asia is muddy. Recent catastrophic weather has taken a toll across the region. But the good news is that shrimp is still popular here, as imports through June are down just a tick from the same period last year.

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