Novel, niche langostinos garner following
A small but desirable segment of the seafood industry, langostinos are a limited-distribution product caught primarily by Chilean producers for sale within the United States.
The langostino industry is an example of how well a government can regulate and manage a fishery, says Robert Landy, VP of frozen purchasing for Stavis Seafood in Boston. Under direction of Sernapesca Chile, the Chilean fishing authority, the fishery has rebounded, he said. The harvest hit a low point in 2001, but quotas and landings have increased annually since.
There are two langostino fisheries in Chile: red langostinos (Pleuroncodes monodon) found in the south, and larger yellow langostinos (Cervimunida johni) in the north. Once cooked and peeled, the langostinos look the same, said Landy.
About 90 percent of the quota — which was 1.2 million pounds of finished meat last year — comes to the United States as a chemical-free, frozen cooked product, says Landy. And of that, a little more than half is 60- to 100-count per pound, with the remainder 100- to 200-count.
Most of the langostinos come to the United States because the market was established here, with major restaurant chains utilizing it, notes Landy. Because prices have increased in recent years, jumping from around USD 7.50 (EUR 5.55) a pound to USD 11 (EUR 8.14), Landy said it has started to compete with American lobster (Homarus americanus).
When it was less expensive, langostino was used as a filler for lobster rolls, and still is often found as an ingredient in seafood bisque or as a seafood garnish on entrées, he said.