Top 5 commentaries of 2009

By

Steven Hedlund

Published on
December 20, 2009

On Friday, SeafoodSource published a list of this year’s five most-read SeafoodSource news stories. Here’s a look back at 2009’s five most-read SeafoodSource commentaries.

5) Just how serious is China about improving its questionable food safety record? In “All eyes on China,” I asked Eric Hargan, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery and the former No. 2 at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this question. His answer? Pretty damn serious. On 1 June, China’s new law overhauling its disjointed approach to food safety took effect. The result is a streamlined regulatory framework, and that’s no small feat for such a colossal, decentralized economy. It’ll take a while for China to rebuild the public’s confidence in its seafood, but it appears the country is pointed in the right direction.

4) Much has been made of the sustainable seafood movement this year. Whether it’s the push to end bluefin tuna overfishing or the development of sustainable seafood purchasing policies among retailers and foodservice operators, sustainability is no longer an option — it’s a necessity. But just how much does the average consumer know about seafood sustainability? Not a whole lot, said SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Mike Urch in “Do consumers care about sustainability?” Urch pointed to a Defra-commissioned survey that found consumers thought less about sustainable fishing than they did about wasting food, composting, buying seasonally and other sustainable food trends.

3) Misinformation about aquaculture is rampant, said SeaFood Business Editor-in-Chief Fiona Robinson in her commentary, “Frank talk on farmed fish.” In March, Robinson attended Cooking for Solutions at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium. But what was once a forum for aquaculture bashing has evolved into to a constructive discussion about sustainable aquaculture. “There are many examples of sustainable fish farming around the globe,” wrote Robinson. “We just need environmentalists to hear the accurate information, which means aquaculture companies also need to step up to the plate and stop acting so secretive.”

2) This year’s two most-read SeafoodSource commentaries have something in common — Maine lobster. Historically low lobster prices — the result of increased supplies and reduced demand due to the global recession — are making the crustacean accessible to more restaurant chains, including Uno’s and Bugaboo Creek Steak House, which promoted lobster heavily this summer. It’s the market at work, I explained in “The good, the bad and the ugly." But, for lobstermen, times are tough, and tensions are high.

1) How high are tensions? Pretty high, SeaFood Business Associate Editor James Wright explained in his commentary, “Lobster dispute turns ugly." Tensions came to a head in July when a feud over fishing territory around Maine’s Matinicus Island triggered one lobsterman to shoot and nearly kill a fellow lobsterman with a with a .22-caliber handgun. The incident gained national attention, with stories in the Wall Street Journal and on NBC’s Nightly News. “It’s been a rough year or so for Maine’s trap haulers, what with the economy in the chum bucket and the summer weather turning out to be a real bummer,” wrote Wright. “I’ll do my part and crack into a lobster or two real soon. Just hold the bloodshed, please.”

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