Crab brokers, Busting belly fat with brown seaweed & more...
By Laine Welch
September 25, 2006
"It's my baby," he said, adding that he was the first to begin brokering fresh cooked king crab clusters out of Dutch Harbor 14 years ago.
George wanted to create a closer working relationship with his customers, and to help them understand the complexities of getting Alaskan king crab to their restaurants or retail counters. "I wanted to take them from boat to box - to show them all the different hoops we have to jump through to get the crab from the source to them in a timely manner," he explained.
What better way than to take them to the source? In July, George and his partner Eric Donaldson brought 42 buyers and chefs to Nome to participate in the Norton Sound king crab fishery.
"I was blown away by the ability to get seafood from that remote of a location. We get crab from all over the world, but the quality that comes out of Norton Sound is awesome. To take the crab from a small boat, into the cooking pot and to our restaurant the next day is amazing," said Dwight Colton, vice president of the upscale Fish Market Restaurants, an upscale chain of nine outlets in California and Arizona. The company also owns its own wholesale seafood supply company, Farallon Fisheries. "We think of ourselves as seafood people in the restaurant business versus restaurant people that sell seafood," Colton added.
As a first time visitor to Alaska, Colton said his first impression was the open friendliness of the people in Nome. "They opened their homes, offered us ridesthat just doesn't happen in large metropolitan areas of California. People in Nome were always waving at me and it wasn't with their middle finger," he said with a laugh.
In Nome, the visit turned into a community event. The group netted salmon from the Pilgrim River and cooked it on willow branches on the beach. They also held an auction with items from the vistors' restaurants and stores and raised more than $2,000 for a local women's shelter.
The Crab Brokers are now busily organizing a tour to Dutch Harbor in late October, where buyers and chefs can again see "the real deal" as boats offload red king crab from the Bristol Bay fishery.
"We've got it line up so the group will actually go out on a big vessel and drop gear about six miles out of Dutch Harbor so they can see how it's done," said Rob George. "We're also hoping to get the ok from fishery managers to pull a pot that's loaded with king crab," he added.
George said the tours allow his company to meet with their clients, and it's the best way for them to gain a real appreciation of Alaska's seafood and its fisheries. The Fish Market's Dwight Colton had glowing words for Alaska seafood in general.
"My visit solidified what we already know about Alaska seafood. You can say hand over your heart that Alaska has superior seafood than any other state.
"The supplies of high quality seafood we get out of Alaska are unrivaled year in and year out. There is a lot of competition among states and I think Alaska has done a better job of marketing its seafood than anybody else," Colton said.
Colton, who has already booked
his ticket for the Dutch Harbor trip, said he is really excited
to be going to the source of the "Deadliest Catch,"
one of cable TV's most popular television shows. "If I
get even half as much out of the Dutch Harbor trip as I did from
Nome, I'll be thrilled," he said. You can follow along with
Colton's Alaska king crab adventure at www.thefishmarket.com
But the jump in prices has a downside when compared to competing proteins, and it could be reflected when people reach for their wallets. Beef prices, for example, have dropped by about one percent, poultry prices are down by almost three percent and pork has registered a gain of less than one percent. Talley said the Bureau of Labor reports strong increases in seafood trade overall, especially for imports.
On a related note: The latest
report by the international Food and Agriculutre Organization
(FAO) said in 1980, just nine percent of the fish consumed in
the world came from aquaculture. Today that number has jumped
to 43 percent, or more than 100 billion pounds valued at $63
billion. The FAO estimates an additional 88 billion pounds of
fish will be required by 2030 just to maintain current levels
of consumption, and that will be provided by farmed fish.
In the study, which was funded by the Japanese government, more than 200 obese animals that were fed the brown seaweed achieved a five to ten percent weight loss. The compound, which comes from a pigment that gives the seaweed its color, targeted belly fat in particular, the researchers said. The compound appeared to stimulate a protein that causes fat oxidation and conversion of energy to heat. The protein is found in the type of fat that surrounds internal organs, especially in the abdominal area. The brown seaweed used in the study is a type of kelp that is widely consumed in Japan. The same kelp forests are also abundant along the California coast. The research could represent a huge market if the brown kelp compound can be developed into a natural extract or drug to help fight obesity. Human studies are planned, but the researchers said it may take three to five years before a fat busting pill is on the market.
Publish A Letter on SitNews Read Letters/Opinions
Submit A Letter to the Editor