Fish Frys and Groundfishing

Taking his cue from this week’s feature article on New England groundfishing, Portland Phoenix restaurant critic Brian Duff has sampled fish dishes at Three Buoys, Taqueria Tequila, Old Port Sea Grill and Taco Escobarr.

At Taco Escobarr they give seasoned pieces of firm pollock a very light fry. A white sauce adds just a touch of tang, some slaw lends a bit of sour, and thin slices of radish give some bitterness. At three for $10 they run a bit more money, but you get them on house-made corn tortillas — which have good flavor but could use a touch more sear on the grill.

Maine Shrimp Season

Working Waterfront has published an article about the short Maine Shrimp season.

The move to cut the shrimping season wasn’t a surprise. The previous shrimping season was cut short after just a few weeks, and summer surveys showed that the Northern shrimp population is in trouble. The survey found that shrimp were small in size in general and that two year-classes were absent, said Michael Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator with the commission. The results were surprising, even for a fishery known for boom and bust cycles.

“We’ve had similar situations, but we haven’t had two absent year-classes in a row,” Waine said.

CSFs: Port Clyde Fresh Catch and Salt & Sea

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes an article about Port Clyde Fresh Catch and Salt & Sea, the state’s 2 Community Supported Fisheries.

To boost the stocks of endangered fish, instead consume Maine’s underutilized ones, perhaps by joining a community-supported fishery, or CSF. It’s the same concept as community-supported agriculture, where members pay farmers a lump sum in advance for weekly baskets of vegetables. Port Clyde Fresh Catch launched the country’s first CSF, a shot in the arm for Maine’s last ground-fish fleet between Portland and Canada.

Fresh Maine Scallops

The Food & Wine section in today’s Press Herald includes an article about Maine dayboat scallops.

Sea scallops are so delicious, Brawn and other scallop experts say, that fishermen always claim they are best eaten raw, right on the boat.

“When you have a really, really fresh scallop, it has an ocean flavor,” Brawn said. “When it’s raw, it has a really good texture, and it doesn’t have a fishy flavor at all. Scallops in general, relative to other seafood, are mild, but Maine scallops particularly are very mild. It’s almost a shame to cook them because they’re so good raw.”

Diver Scallops

MPBN has aired a piece on the Maine diver scallop fishery and the new harvesting rules being put in place.

It may be that lobster is Maine’s most popular seafood. But there are those who, if forced to choose, would opt instead for the Maine scallop – and more specifically, the diver-harvested scallop. But these delicacies have been under increasing pressure, and landings have been at historic lows in recent years. This week, scallop season opened under a new management system, which sets out a 10-year time-frame designed to restore this highly-valuable fishery.

Maine Shrimp Season

Regulators have set an abbreviated 2013 Maine Shrimp season.

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which met Monday, said the total catch limit was set at 1.38 million pounds, down from 5.3 million pounds caught last year. That compared to the catch of 2011, when 13.3 million pounds of shrimp were harvested.

The season will begin on January 22 for trawling fishermen, who can harvest on Mondays and Wednesdays. For fishermen who use traps, the season will start on February 5, with a limit of 800 pounds per day per boat.

For additional reporting read this article in the Bangor Daily News.

Maine Oysters

The latest issue of Down East includes a feature article about the Maine oyster industry which ranges from Eventide to oyster farms to sidebars on two better mouse traps for opening the tasty bivalves.

“Oyster are trendy now,” says Jeff “Smokey” McKeen, a co-owner and founder of Pemaquid Oyster Company, which has been growing oysters in the Damariscotta estuary since 1986. “They are way more popular than they were twenty-five years ago, so the market is their for us now. All the Maine oysters have a good reputation in the marketplace. They come out of cold water so they are sweeter, plumper, and crisper than warm water oysters. They stack up against anything out there.”

The latest issue of Down East isn’t online yet but you can pick up an issue at your local newsstand.

The Price of a Lobster

An article in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram traces the route and mark-up from the few bucks per pound paid to a lobstermen on the dock to the $17+ that will be charged at a restaurant.

Once caught, a lobster can change hands five to seven times before it reaches a diner’s plate.

Lobstermen this summer are getting paid as little as $2 to $2.50 a pound for their catch — the lowest level in 30 years — but the price escalates to $17 a pound or higher by the time a customer orders a lobster in a restaurant.

The paper also continues their reporting on the recent conflict in Canada about processors importing inexpensive Maine lobsters.

Three Sons, Lobster Protests & Restaurant Lobster Pricing

Today’s Press Herald includes an investigation into why restaurant pricing of lobster dishes hasn’t dropped as fast or as low as the price paid to lobstermen,

By the time that bright-red lobster lands in front of a customer in a Maine restaurant, those low dock prices of $2 or $2.50 a pound are more like a distant murmur than the issue that’s causing all that shouting by lobstermen up in Canada, who are worried that their livelihood is threatened by the cheap Maine lobster flowing to processing plants north of the border.

the latest in the ongoing controversy in Canada over the processing of Maine lobster,

The judge granted an injunction that orders protesters not to block entrances to lobster processing plants for the next 10 days. The order says no more than six people can protest at a time, and they must stay at least 200 feet from the plants.

Canadian lobstermen protested the delivery of Maine lobsters to Canadian processors last week by blocking access to the facilities. They said Canadians could not compete with the low price of the imported product.

and an article about the eviction of Three Sons Lobster from their digs on Commercial Street.

The owner of Three Sons Lobster and Fish on Commercial Street was evicted Thursday, but he’s hoping a last-minute bankruptcy filing will allow him to reopen at the same location.

Longfin Squid

Working Waterfront has published an article about the emerging squid fishery and market in Maine.

Culinary trends can be tricky to predict with the recent trend to sample both exotic and local foods—sometimes on the same plate. The roster of locally available foods is well known, and here in Maine one can expect rather hearty fare; potatoes, lobster, apples and kale are among the offerings, but lately there’s been a newcomer by way of Port Clyde Fresh Catch (PCFC). Though once considered the province of the adventurous gastronomic, squid have found a place among the palate of Maine eaters, and PCFC can barely keep up with demand.