Canada’s 150th: Musings About Canadian Fisheries

There is no doubt that Canadians are closely tied to the oceans and its resources, with a vast coastline skirting the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. In fact, Canada as a nation has recognized the abundance and diversity that exists within the Ocean for 150 years. The indigenous people who have dwelled on the land for thousands of years before have used the ocean’s resources integrating it into their lifestyle and culture. For thousands of years Indigenous Nations fished with nets, hooks and longlines as well as traditional fishing weirs that still exist on the East Coast today!

Photo: The Bramber Weir on the shores of the Minas Basin! These weirs are used for fishing in the Bay of Fundy, which is a practice that the Mi’Kmaq First Nations have used for thousands of years!

The Canadian fishing and aquaculture industry is inextricably tied to the economy and generates nearly $7 billion (CAD) every year. Fish and seafood is Canada’s largest export of food products, with our most valued species being lobster, Atlantic salmon, snow crab, and shrimp.

Unfortunately, not everything has been on the up and up. Canada’s seafood industry has it’s downfalls particularly with overfishing- cue the infamous cod collapse. It is evident that Canada is now faced with the challenge of managing its fisheries and its ocean ecosystems in a sustainable manner that includes collaboration with indigenous people, so that it may be available for generations to come. Afishionado trying to do our part in sourcing sustainably caught seafood to support our local fishermen and sustainable aquaculture facilities that work hard to provide seafood we can all feel good about consuming.

To celebrate Canada Day Afishionado is offering some sweet promotions to you with friends and family!

Click here to see all promotions!

 

Brandin’ the Bugs

Article: Hana Nelson
Illustration: Scott K MacDonald

How do you make an arthropod world famous? Well, you could brand it. Nova Scotia is certainly committed to the cause.

Nova Scotia recently revealed a provincial seafood brand, and the federal government just granted $325 million to spur innovation in Atlantic Canadian fisheries. Stephen McNeil hinted that a portion of the funds could help create an Atlantic Canadian seafood brand.

Branding poses tremendous opportunities and challenges for our coastal communities. Could it promote price fairness and stability? How can the iconic lobster serve as an economic buoy for our coastal communities? Could a brand promote and protect the province’s owner-operator fishing fleet? How can we rally around lobster to make the world celebrate the quality of Nova Scotia’s seafood?

With landings and sales booming across the province, it’s no wonder there’s an effort to maximize the resource’s value. These are good times after all. In 2016, Canada exported almost a billion kilograms of live lobster and Nova Scotia’s lobster exports were worth just under a billion dollars. But let’s not get carried away. Lobster catches, quality and prices ebb and flow like the ecology of the ecosystems they live in. Only three years ago, the lobster industry was in a slump, with politicians and industry stakeholders meeting in Halifax for the Lobster Value Recovery Summit.

Graeme Gawn, president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union (MFU) Local 9 in Southwest Nova Scotia, is interested in optimizing the value of the region’s lobster. “We’re interested in adding value to our product and working in partnership with the buying side of the industry to try to get premium prices for quality lobster,” says Gawn. “We’re all about quality.” Prices that reflect seasonality and quality could give an alternative to lobster fishers who often have to hold onto their product until market prices improve.

The brand could also spur cooperation amongst the mostly independent lobster fleet, and instill more pride in the product. “The pricing system should reflect lobster quality,” says Kevin Squires, president of Cape Breton’s MFU Local 6. “Getting an average price for anything we throw in the crate is hardly an incentive to deliver the best quality possible.”

How will branding impact coastal communities? One thing is clear: the brand will certainly benefit from the romantic imagery of small boats and coastal communities. The independent owner-operator fleet still makes up most of Nova Scotia’s lobster fishing effort. The lobster fishery is integral to many other fisheries in Nova Scotia, including haddock, tuna, halibut, scallops and herring. Small-scale fishers work year-round.

Squires believes in cooperation because “it allows current players to be successful, while avoiding the need for industry consolidation.” If a unified brand will represent our lobster, then we need protective regulations along with it. This should mean enforcing Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s owner-operator policy, a policy created to protect the independence of the inshore fishery and which, if enforced, could make it more affordable for the next generation to enter the fishery.

Lobstering is a different game now. Kevin Squires bought a lobster licence for 25 cents in the 1970s. There is limited entry to the fishery now, and licences can cost more than a house. Evan Baker, a 27-year-old owner-operator from East Jeddore, is an exception. Thirty years younger than the industry average, he knows the recent boom might not last. “I don’t see it going up forever. It’s got to level out or go down at some point.” He fishes halibut and herring outside his short lobster season to stay resilient.

Our lobster is world class. A well-structured lobster brand offers an opportunity to promote the independent fleet that so many of our coastal communities and fisheries rely on. There’s no better time to work co-operatively, focus on quality and create fair prices for fishermen and processors alike.

Originally posted in Local Connections, June 10, 2017

http://localconnections.ca/home/nova-scotia-lobster

Logistic Services Specialist-Halifax

Afishionado is a community-minded fishmongers that is dedicated to bringing the fishing traditions of Nova Scotia back to the plates of consumers. For us, knowing the story behind the fish we sell is important. We follow Ocean Wise www.oceanwise.ca certification as our main guide, a classification that ensures responsibility to a fishery’s abundance and catch method. Any Afishionado products that don’t have that certification, such as our wild Atlantic halibut and cod, are fished using hook and line caught methods. As much as possible we maintain close relationships with those who catch our fish, and work hard to help foster a fair, transparent and sustainable exchange of seafood in the Maritimes from the ocean all the way to your plate.

Job Title: Logistic Services Specialist

Location: Halifax

Salary: $15/hr hour, 34 hours a week

 

Hours

Wednesday- 9am-4pm

Thursday- Friday- 9am-7pm

Saturday- 9am–1pm

 

Terms of Employment:

6 month contract, Full Time, Overtime will be required

Work Conditions:

Fast-paced environment, physically demanding,

Work Location:

Based in Halifax, driving to different parts of the Maritimes regularly. Driver’s license required.

Job Brief:

We are looking for an enthusiastic and responsible individual to promote Afishionado products to existing and potential restaurant customers, distribute products promptly and safely to Afishionado customers while providing them with an exceptional customer experience. You will also be responsible for retrieving product from suppliers throughout the Maritimes, when needed. You will represent Afishionado in a professional and knowledgeable manner with the aim to supplying HRM restaurants and individuals with the best sustainably sourced seafood available.

 

Qualifications:

Knowledge/Experience

  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record. Must have been driving for 5 + years.
  • Restaurant/Retail or food service experience
  • Capacity to use Excel, Word and basic software set up functions, data entry
  • Regular driving experience, with previous insurance

 

Skills/Abilities

  • Excellent organizational and time management skills
  • Basic math skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills by telephone, in written form, e-mail, in person and text
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Performing physical activities
  • Ability to work autonomously
  • Ability to lift 45 lbs

 

Responsibilities:

Order fulfillment

  • Collect payments and invoice from mobile device
  • Inform customers about new products and services
  • Sales to local HRM restaurants: take and record orders when necessary or direct wholesale customers to the wholesale contact
  • Research and learn detailed information about products Afishionado offers
  • Direct feedback and questions to supervisors, as needed, and resolve complaints when possible

Transportation/Driving

  • Plan out route and schedule daily and adapt plan to account for changes in schedule that arise during the day.
  • Communicate with suppliers and headquarters about last minute pick ups and drop offs
  • Communicate with courier services, when needed
  • Load, unload, prepare, inspect and operate delivery van
  • Perform pre trip, en route and post-trip inspection and oversee all aspects of vehicle
  • Complete logs and reports: including temperature logs and vehicle maintenance logs
  • Help fine tune delivery driver SOP, when appropriate

 

Such other tasks as may be assigned by Afishionado from time to time.

To apply:

Please submit applications, including a cover letter and CV to hello@afishionado.ca

Deadline to apply June 15th. Position will start immediately.

 

 

The Importance of Our Ocean

Our oceans are full of wonder, beauty, diversity, and mystery making them arguably one of the most intriguing ecosystems on Earth. However, if you do not live in proximity to the ocean or have spent time exploring it, its importance may be overlooked. Out of sight, out of mind right?

On Thursday, June 8th, 2017 the world will be celebrating World Oceans Day! Here in Halifax, Nova Scotia we will be also celebrating Oceans Week from June 2-11th. There will be plenty of exciting ocean themed events being carried out in the city and the province. To check out a full list of events click here. Afishionado will also be at the Maritime Museum for the Ocean + You event on June 2nd from 10am-3pm offering a fun, traditional Japanese fish printing activity called Gyotaku!

To kick off this ocean themed week we have provided a list of the 3 reasons the ocean is so important and why everyone should work to conserve and protect it!

1. The ocean is interconnected with the climate and weather

The ocean conveyor belt! Photo: USGS

The oceans play a crucial role in distributing heat throughout the globe, so life does not freeze at the poles or overheat at the equator. As the sun warms the waters, particularly near the equator, the ocean currents work like a conveyor belt to bring warm water from the south to the north and colder water from the north to the south. Additionally, the ocean absorbs approximately a third of the carbon dioxide we release into the air and is an important reservoir of carbon because it holds 54 times more the atmosphere can. Carbon absorption helps to reduce warming on earth because once in the atmosphere it has a greenhouse gas effect and increases as well as varies global temperatures. However, with the amounts of carbon we are releasing the ocean has become very acidic and leads to the death of many species particularly species with calcium carbonate shells like mussels, scallops, and corals. This is why reducing out carbon footprint is important in protecting the oceans.

2. The ocean provides life

Ocean supports a wide variety of species. Photo: VegNews Magazine

Earth is mostly water, around 70 percent to be more exact! When the ocean is heated the water molecules evaporate form clouds that move inland. This causes the clouds to condense and form rain that falls, providing water and life to everything on earth! Without this cycle there would be no life of Earth. Furthermore, the ocean also provides habitat to approximately 2.2 million different species (or so scientists have estimated) in the ocean. Everything from tiny microscopic organisms like plankton swimming in the water column to the largest mammal on earth the Blue Whale. Ensuring our oceans stay healthy and biologically rich will help to ensure the overall ecosystem maintains its productivity and life continues to flourish.

So many seafood choices, but remember to choose sustainably! Photo: FoxNews

3. The ocean provides us with food

Just as the oceans provide a habitat and water for all species on earth, it also provides food for other species and humans alike. Seafood is an important source of protein for many people around the world. Seafood is filled with great sources of protein, unsaturated fatty acids and a variety of necessary vitamins and minerals. To ensure that we have a good source of seafood in the future, choosing to purchase a variety of seafood that is transparent, local, and harvested or produced with low impact on the environment is critical.

Thai-Flavoured Spot Prawn Bisque

We are celebrating spot prawn season from afar here on the East Coast! We’ll be bringing in Spot Prawns next week for pick up on Thursday June 1st from our Isleville St warehouse location. Please place your orders by Monday, May 29th. www.afishionado.ca/product/fresh-bc-spot-prawns/

 

Thai-Flavoured Spot Prawn Bisque

Courtesy Chef Bill Jones, Deerholme Farm

Ingrdients

1 lb (454 g) Spot Prawns

1 Tbsp (5 mL) salt

1 tsp (5 mL) sugar

2 large
  carrots, peeled and chopped

1 stalk
 celery, chopped

1 large
 onion, peeled and chopped

8 cups (2 L) water

4 slices fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 stalk 
lemon grass, trimmed and cut in chunks

1 bunch cilantro (stems and stocks)

1 lime juice and zest

1 can coconut milk

2 Tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch (mixed with equal cold water)

Salt and pepper to taste Fresh cilantro leaves (or basil)

 

Instructions

Peel prawns (reserve shells) and place in a shallow metal or glass tray, sprinkle lightly with salt and sugar. Cover with boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes, drain and chill.

Place shells on a baking tray and place in a 350 F (180 C)
oven. Roast the shells for 15 minutes, or until they have lightly browned. In a stock pot, add a little oil and add the onion, carrot and celery. Saute until they begin to brown, add water and bring to a simmer. Add the prawns shells, ginger slices, lemon grass, cilantro stems, lime juice, zest and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Strain soup, check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper (or hot sauce if you like it spicy). Mix the cornstarch with cold water and slowly whisk into the hot soup. The mixture will thicken
 as it heats. Before serving stir in the cilantro leaves and cooked prawns. Serve immediately.

www.deerholmefarm.com

www.explorecowichan.ca

How to Enjoy Oysters at Home

Oysters are amazing organisms. They filter feed in the water column, cleaning our waters and diversifying ecosystems. About 95% of the oysters we consume are farmed and, if you are knowledgeable about where they are coming from and how they were grown, they have the potential to be truly sustainable seafood choice. Local Nova Scotian Oysters can be enjoyed at anytime in the year and make for a wonderful (and also impressive) party appetizer.

Step 1: Buy some oysters

Yes, this is obvious, but an important first step. Head to the online Afishionado shop and purchase some oysters! On our shop we currently have a variety of oysters from ShanDaph, Colville Bay and Eel Lake Oyster Farm. However, we this supply is ever-changing as we source from many local suppliers. Check out our new and improved supplier page to find details about their business and the oysters they sell! On the website we offer plenty of options including platters of 25, 50 and 100 oysters and a delicious kimchi mignonette from a local vendor, Cabbage Patch Kimchi, to top the oysters off!

Step 2: Store them properly

If you don’t plan on shucking and consuming the oysters right away, store the oysters in a bowl with a wet towel over it. Storing the oysters with the curved cups facing downwards will also help to preserve the Oysters juices. Afishionado’s fresh Oysters will be happy in this state for up to 3 weeks! However, be careful when storing them over ice because if the ice melts while the oysters are sitting in it, they will die from the freshwater exposure.

Step 3: Shuck the Oysters

Ready to get shucking at one of our past workshops!

Shucking an Oyster can seem like a scary task at first, but it is quite simple and just requires a little bit of practise! So grab yourself a proper oyster knife and some oysters and practise with this informative video.

Other items to have when shucking:

  • A plate with ice to place open oysters
  • A towel to help chuck and wipe away pieces of shell
  • A trash can or bag to discard the shells, can put them in the garden

If you are in need of some more Oyster shucking guidance, Afishionado often hosts Oyster shucking workshops that are fun and informative, with 14 Oysters included in the price!

Step 4: Dressing your Oysters

Oysters are wonderful raw and on their own. You should eat a couple like this to really get a sense of the oyster’s unique taste. However, if you want to go above and beyond the classic squeeze of lemon and a drop of tabasco sauce, here are three ways to do so.

Oysters with chili, ginger and rice wine vinegar

  • 12 oysters
  • ½ thumb-sized piece peeled ginger
  • 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 red chili
  • a little fresh coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Shuck your oysters and place them in the half shell on ice
  2. To make the sauce, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle the sauce over the oysters and serve straight away.

Oysters with Raspberry Mignonette

  • 12 Oysters
  • 3/4 cup raspberries (preferably fresh, but if frozen simply thaw), divided
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Dash of freshly ground white pepper
  1. Add ½ cup raspberries to a fine strainer and force through with the back of a spoon, collecting the juice in a small bowl. Discard the seeds caught in the strainer.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the juice bowl. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but up to 24 hours.
  3. When ready to serve, shuck your oysters and place them in the half shell on ice, then slice the remaining raspberries into slivers. Add about ½ teaspoon mignonette to each oyster on the half shell and place a raspberry sliver on each shell. Serve immediately.

Garlic, Butter and Paprika Grilled Oysters

  • 6 big shell-on oysters
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp, chopped parsley leaves
  • Paprika, to taste
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • Lemon wedges, optional
  1. Shuck your oysters and set aside
  2. Top the oysters with the chopped garlic, parsley leaves and season with paprika, then add some melted butter on each oyster
  3. Grill on outdoor grill for about 5-8 minutes or until they are cooked. Serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.

*Note: you can also bake these in your oven at 375F for 15-20 minutes

Yellowfin Tuna Poke

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will’s Yellowfin Tuna Poke

We served this delicious version of poke at the Saltscapes Expo last weekend to rave reviews! This is an amazing dish to serve on the upcoming warm summer nights! They are coming right? It’s quick to whip up for a fresh appetizer and sure to impress your friends and family.

  • 1 lb raw sashimi-grade tuna, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 sheet of thinly sliced Sushi Nori
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 green onions chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds 4 teaspoons soy sauce, more or less to taste
  • 4 teaspoons (20ml) soy sauce, more or less to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup), more or less to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • Squirt of lime – or pinch of lime zest
  • Pinch of fresh grated ginger

Cut tuna into small cubes and place into mixing bowl. Add sushi nori, scallions and green onions to the mix. In a small cast iron pan, gently toast sesame seeds, be sure not to burn them. In a separate mixing bowl, add soy sauce, sesame oil, honey or maple syrup, lime juice and/or zest (not too much), and a pinch of ginger.

Less is more. The fish should not be swimming in liquid. Rather, it should be lightly dressed, marinating the loin. Let the poke sit for at least 10 mins before serving. Serve with a side of cold rice, or with tortilla chips or crackers.

Visit our online shop to purchase:https://www.afishionado.ca/product/yellowfin-tuna-poke/

Quality Assurance Specialist, Plant Manager

Afishionado Fishmongers is a community-minded provider of fresh and fresh-frozen seafood dedicated to bringing low-impact fishing traditions back to the plates of consumers. We strive to build and maintain close relationships with those who catch our fish, and work hard to help foster a fair, transparent, traceable, and sustainable exchange of seafood in the Maritimes!

 

We are currently recruiting a Quality Assurance Specialist and Plant Manager to join our operations team in Millbrook, NS.

 

Job title Quality Assurance Specialist, Plant Manager
Job Location Millbrook, NS
Start Date Start date will be April 1st 2017, earlier start time may be considered depending on training required


Duties and responsibilities

 

Quality Assurance (QA) responsibilities

  • QA supervisor is responsible for all incoming and outgoing orders, record keeping as well as supervision pertaining to production, storage, maintenance and sanitation;
  • Must have an intimate knowledge of food safety, HACCP, Fish Quality Management Program (QMP);
  • Maintains work flow by monitoring steps of the processes set by the QMP; setting processing variables; observing control points and equipment; monitoring personnel and resources; studying methods; implementing cost reductions; completing reporting procedures and systems; facilitating corrections to malfunctions within process control points;
  • Maintains quality service by establishing and enforcing organization standards;
  • Implements new QA standards as required;
  • Provides processing information by compiling, initiating, sorting, and analyzing production performance records and data; answering questions and responding to requests from owner operator and/or CFIA agent;
  • Creates and revises systems and procedures by analyzing operating practices, record-keeping systems, forms of control, and budgetary and personnel requirements; implementing change;
  • Maintains safe and clean work environment by educating and directing personnel on the use of all control points, equipment, and resources; maintaining compliance with established policies and procedures set forth by the QMP.

 

Production Plant Manager responsibilities

  • Accomplishes results by communicating job expectations; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results; coaching, counseling, and disciplining employees; initiating, coordinating, and enforcing systems, policies, and procedures;
  • Maintains staff by recruiting, selecting, orienting, and training production plant employees; all the while developing personal growth opportunities;
  • Initiates and fosters a spirit of cooperation within and between suppliers, customers and fellow employees;
  • Completes production plan by scheduling and assigning personnel; accomplishing work results; establishing priorities; monitoring progress; revising schedules; resolving problems; reporting results of the processing flow on shift production summaries;
  • Resolves personnel problems by analyzing data; investigating issues; identifying solutions; recommending action;
  • Contributes to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed, on the production floor;
  • Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; establishing personal networks; benchmarking good manufacturing practices; participating in professional societies;
  • Ensure packaging materials are in good supply and re-order as necessary;
  • Maintains packaging and labelling files and ensures all out-going orders are properly labelled with in-house produced labels.

 

Equipment Maintenance

  • Ensures operation and maintenance of equipment by calling for repairs; evaluating new equipment and techniques;
  • Forklift operation and maintenance;
  • Maintains equipment maintenance log and ensures all maintenance is undertaken according to QMP standards.

 

Qualifications

 

All qualifications listed below will be considered assets, however we are looking for a highly motivated multi-tasker who is able to think outside to box to make sound decisions as problems arise.

 

Education: College or University graduate in a technical or science field is considered an asset.  Education specific to food safety would also be an asset.

Professional Certification: Occupational Health & Safety (OHS), Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and First Aid/CPR certificates. (If these are not completed prior to employment there will be a requirement to do so.

Driver’s license required

Forklift Safety Certificate an asset

Experience: A Minimum of 1 year experience production environment or seafood production experience and/or 3+ years would be considered an asset.

Salary and benefits: to be negotiated depending on experience.

 

Working conditions

This position requires some work in an office setting and some in the production area; typically, more time being spent on the production floor in a supervisory role, however can vary depending on work volume.

 

Working hours will vary depending on production needs and there will be required overtime, earlier start times and later end times, week to week depending on product flow. Shifts vary on length of day and from day to day. Full time hours.

 

Please submit applications, including a cover letter and CV to hello@afishionado.ca

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until a candidate is found.

A Glimpse into the World of Afishionado

Raw Fish 101: Does Your Sashimi Get a Passing Grade?

Sushi has rapidly become one of the most universally accessible and globalized cuisines on the planet. Even if you aren’t a fan of fish I’m sure you’ve “gone for sushi” before or maybe even hosted a “sushi night” where guests bring various ingredients to contribute to a collective maki-making shindig. While there is a growing menu of vegetarian options when it comes to sushi, if you are a fish lover, what kind of fish should you be looking for? The term sushi grade or sashimi grade is often used to describe fish that is destined to be consumed raw, but what does sushi or sashimi grade actually mean?

Believe it or not sushi grade is not an “official” certification in Canada. However, for fish to be called sushi grade or sashimi grade by chefs it must be frozen. Guidelines vary for different species, but you are safest when fish is frozen at -35 for 15 hours. Home freezers usually can be set to as low as -18 which means that if you want to ensure that your fish is sushi grade it should be frozen for 36 hours or more in order to kill any parasites. In his exhaustive book The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and RiceTrevor Corson points out that the reason why traditional sushi chefs seldom serve freshwater fish is due to the very rare instance of parasites. Parasites, unlike bacteria can be killed by cooking and cold enough temperatures. “Unfrozen salmon is not recommended”

At Afishionado we carry a variety of frozen fish which is considered sushi or sashimi grade. Our yellowfin tuna saku blocks and steaks are currently the most popular fish we sell to sushi lovers from our online shop. Our tuna is not only Fair Trade, but  sustainable which makes eating fish you can feel good about hassle-free.

Please visit some of our restaurant partners and enjoy dishes featuring our Fair Trade yellowfin  tuna. Kitsune Food Co. , East of Grafton, Shuck Seafood and Raw Bar, Bistro Le Coq, The Press Gang Restaurant and Oyster Bar, Edna just to name a few.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rashid’s Halibut Ceviche

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound fresh skinless halibut fillet, cut into half-inch cubes or halibut cheeks!
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 cup lime juice (from about 6 limes)
  • 2  Serrano or jalapeño peppers, halved, seeded and finely chopped if you want to add some heat. (wear latex gloves if you have them. at the very least don’t rub your eyes like I always do…) (optional)
  • 1 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for sprinkling
  • diced red/orange/yellow bell peppers

Preparation

  1. Place the halibut in a nonreactive bowl. Season with salt. Add 1/2 cup lime juice to bowl, toss again, cover and refrigerate.
  2. Combine the peppers, shallots, cilantro and remaining 1/2 cup lime juice in a nonreactive bowl, cover and refrigerate.
  3. Fifteen minutes before serving, whisk olive oil into shallot mixture. Pourover the halibut mixture , toss and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. sprinkle with cilantro.

Delicious served with tortilla chips or you could make tostadas by cutting fresh corn tortillas into triangles and baking with a pinch of salt.

 

Hana’s Year-End (Beginning of the Year!) Update

In my usual fashion, I’m all but three weeks late getting to my year-end update! What a wild year of changes and adaptations it’s been, and it only seems appropriate that it’s taken me well into January just to settle down and do some reflecting.

Last year‘s highlight was a complete pivot at Afishionado. January 1st, 2016 marked the end of our six day a week retail seafood stand venture at Local Source Market. They were great hosts to test out our business model. We knew that local customers wanted access to local, sustainably-harvested and grown seafood. The success of our little bustling seafood stand was proof. I met so many wonderful people, and have forged friendships that will last a lifetime! The support that we received at our humble fish stall helped us launch the next evolution of Afishionado.

While operating the retail stand we realized something very important. While we had many incredibly loyal local customers, it was still difficult to source high quality products when limited to only purchasing from our suppliers twice a week and in small volumes. We were seeing so many stories to tell of the fisheries that we wanted support, but just couldn’t buy in volumes large enough to make it worthwhile for them to go out fishing, or to ask processing plants to keep some products from the express transport trucks heading to Boston for export.

Meanwhile, we were researching and learning a lot from Community Supported Fisheries, like Halifax’s Off the Hook, who worked to overcome these exact same challenges. We kept wondering: how do you shift larger volumes from small-scale, sustainable fisheries to as many local consumers as possible within a short time frame?

We were fortunate to be able to learn from some of Off the Hook’s successes and shortcomings, giving us the confidence to embark on a weekly subscription business of our own. Our first delivery was in March, and I was immediately in awe. Right off the bat we had over 50 people sign up! I couldn’t believe it. It was working! We had enough volume, just once a week, to order in quantities that it mattered. We also had more time. Time to tell people the stories of where their fish was coming from. And more time to go out and search for new supply.

Many of those original 50 subscribers are still with us today, and we’re up to 150 customers. I still can’t believe that we have so many amazing customers who follow us online, and trust in us to bring them high quality, sustainable seafood every week. We couldn’t do it without the community we’re building.

We’ve been able to expand outside of the HRM into the Valley and now to Antigonish. We’re hoping to add Truro, Moncton, and Sackville, NB this year.

A natural evolution of the challenges that we’ve faced was the realization that we needed a processing plant to continue growing and support more small-scale sustainable fisheries. While we knew there were products out there that we wanted to bring in and tell the story of, seafood in this part of the world is at the whim of a complicated supply chain and burdensome regulations, all of which requires that product goes through a CFIA-registered plant even for sales within Nova Scotia.

Many of Nova Scotia’s small-scale fisheries and sustainable aquaculture operations haven’t achieved scale to attract the attention of existing processing plants. They operate at small volumes that existing processing plants can’t or simply don’t want to accommodate. With upwards of 90% of Nova Scotia’s seafood leaving the province, and much of it unable to connect to market, we found that in order to source product, we needed to be able to handle it all by physically intervening in the marketplace.

So this month, we began to operate a CFIA-certified processing facility in Millbrook, NS. It’s exciting to begin to overcome some of the challenges that we see facing the Nova Scotia fishing industry, and to move more towards a high-value, storied, transparent, and fair seafood exchange right here in Nova Scotia. Our ongoing growth is proof that there are people who want this type of seafood, and that we don’t have to only rely on the traditional Nova Scotia paradigm of high volume, low value exports. We can and will promote more small-scale fisheries and aquaculture operations in this province. It will be the biggest challenged we’ve faced, but we’re ready with our amazing five-person team to get more Nova Scotian seafood cross Canada.

We’re also excited that this year we’ve been chosen as a Top 25 company in Canada for SheEO, a venture capital fund for female-led and run businesses. Only 4% of venture capital funding currently goes to female-led businesses! Yet over two thirds of new businesses are started by women.

SheEO is trying to overcome that, representing “a new model of wealth creation that uses the power of relationships to upend these challenges and turn them into new possibilities. Through the $1000 contributions of thousands of radically generous women, SheEO invests in a small number of women-led, socially positive ventures, and actively supports them with zero percent interest loans, a guided development program, and access to a global network of female investors, advisors, and customers. Through this approach, women entrepreneurs not only access needed capital, they are also guided in the business strategy and leadership development so necessary for sustained success – and they have access to the mentorship, expertise, and networks of thousands of She-EO members.”

Thank you again for all support and interest and we’re excited to share with you everything 2017 brings!

Hana

Realizing the Value of Our Local Fisheries

Article: Hana Nelson
Illustration: Scott MacDonald

When it comes to seafood in Nova Scotia, many of us think that a fish is a fish is a fish. But an increasing focus on export and commodity markets in Nova Scotia is stripping the identity and value away from our seafood. So how do we maximize the value of our small-scale, community-based fisheries and aquaculture operations?

Here in Nova Scotia, we have some of the best ocean access in the world. We have over 13 thousand kilometers of coastline where small-scale, community-based fishers use age-old and low-impact fishing methods. We have emerging world-class aquaculture producers, too, from land-based recirculating aquaculture systems to low-impact, community-based shellfish farms.

With over $1.6 billion in seafood exports, Nova Scotia is Canada’s number one seafood exporter. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to retain the value of our seafood in Nova Scotia when the majority of our premium fish are exported in a faceless, global commodity market. According to One Nova Scotia’s 2015 report, Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Nova Scotians, over 90 per cent of Nova Scotia’s seafood is exported to foreign markets, often with little domestic processing before it goes abroad.

Consider one of Nova Scotia’s seafood poster children: haddock. Haddock exports represent the most significant loss of value in any groundfish species in our province. Less than 6 per cent of the exported weight of haddock is as fillets. Instead, fish is shipped out whole to be processed somewhere else. By not processing it here in Nova Scotia, we lost over $7 million in direct export revenue in 2011 alone, and that doesn’t take into account the loss of associated economic activity from employment in the processing sector.

Small retailers can’t step in and change this because our provincial government maintains antiquated fish processing regulations that are a direct consequence of this commodity market export focus. New and innovative businesses like ours (Afishionado) can’t access some types of fish we want, let alone fillet it. There is a moratorium on groundfish processing licences, so we have to rely on the increasingly scarce supply of community-based processors who can cut haddock for us and who are also under duress.

Let’s be clear: exporting isn’t bad. We’ve relied on it for centuries and will continue to do so. The tricky thing is, however, when we focus exclusively on the bulk commodity market without telling the story of our seafood — and celebrating it — we lose value, we lose identity and we lose the opportunity for local access. The haddock you eat in fish and chip shops throughout the province was probably caught here but sent on a worldwide odyssey where it was cut abroad, most likely China, and frozen twice before returning to the province.

This message really hit home recently when, sadly, one of our shellfish suppliers drowned while on the water. There are inherent dangers to life on the sea. But if our producers are competing on a convoluted and faceless commodity market, then is it really worth it to brave the perils of the sea? Cheap prices devalue the reality of their livelihoods.

We need to process our own seafood so that we can tell its story and celebrate the communities where it came from. If we want to benefit from place-based marketing, then we need to be able to access that product here in Nova Scotia. Consumers abroad need to be able to distinguish our products in the convoluted global commodity market. We have a robust, independent inshore fleet that could be back out on the water fishing.

Nova Scotia has the story. We have coastal communities that would benefit from branding and storytelling. We can embrace and celebrate a culture that has sustained our province’s growth for centuries. If we don’t have the ability to distinguish a fish by how or where it was caught or grown, or on what scale it was caught or grown and by whom, then we’ll just be another producer of commodities stripping value from our beautiful seafood resource.

Originally published in Local Connections Halifax, January 3, 2017.

http://localconnections.ca/home/local-fisheries

 

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