Top 5 news stories of 2009


Steven Hedlund

Published on
December 17, 2009

Editor’s note: In late December, SeafoodSource is featuring a series of commentaries looking back at the headlines that piqued our readers’ interest in 2009. What grabbed your attention? Click here to share your opinion on 2009’s most captivating stories.

It’s difficult to believe, but 2009 — and the first decade of the 21st century — are about to end. Here’s a look back at this year’s five most-read SeafoodSource news stories:

5) This year’s fifth most-read news story interests everyone in the trade — U.S. per-capita seafood consumption reached 16 pounds last year, down from 16.3 pounds in 2007 and the lowest total since 2002’s 15.6 pounds. Nearly all of Americans’ favorite seafood species held their respective positions on the top 10 list, including shrimp at No. 1 (4.1 pounds), canned tuna at No. 2 (2.8 pounds) and salmon at No. 3 (1.8 pounds). How much seafood did Americans devour in 2009? You’ll have to wait until July 2010 when the National Marine Fisheries Service typically releases the figures.

4) For those who couldn’t make it to the International Boston Seafood Show in March, SeafoodSource provided up-to-the-minute updates from inside the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Our coverage included tidbits scavenged from the show floor on Day 1 and Day 3 of the event and news gathered from the conference program, including the keynote address with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and the SeaFood Business Summit on seafood sustainability.

3) The tsunami that devastated the Samoan Islands in September was this year’s third most-read news story. Just hours after 2009’s strongest earthquake triggered a tsunami that crashed into Samoa and American Samoa in the South Pacific, SeafoodSource reported that the tuna-packing plants operated by Chicken of the Sea and StarKist were damaged. The story also exemplified just how fast information travels these days — Tony Feist of Tuna Support, a Los Angeles-based tuna logistics company, gave frequent updates on the tsunami’s aftermath via his Twitter account, thanks to co-worker Ziggy Vollrath, who’s based in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

2) This year’s two most-read news story have two things in common — both involve a club-store chain, and both involve lawyers. The runner-up, by a mere nine page views, is Costco Wholesale. About a month earlier, a U.S. District Court judge in New York dismissed a lawsuit claiming Costco routinely sells short-weighted shrimp. In March, Marc Verzani of Scarsdale, N.Y., alleged that the weight of the shrimp in Costco’s Shrimp Tray with Cocktail Sauce is frequently 3 or more ounces shy of the advertised 16-ounce net weight. Verzani also claimed that the Issaquah, Wash.-based club-store chain, the nation’s largest, never individually weighs its shrimp trays. But judge Colleen McMahon pooh-poohed the suit, calling it “simply ridiculous.”

1) And the winner is? BJ’s Wholesale Club. In September, International Marketing Specialists filed a fraud and breach-of-contract lawsuit against BJ’s, seafood broker Paul Dembling and Dembling’s company, Sinco of Belmont, Mass. The Newton, Mass., shrimp supplier accuses the three parties of conspiring to break up a deal it signed with BJ’s to sell the 184-store chain its Legal Sea Foods-branded shrimp products. The case is pending.

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