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Gulf of Maine Shrimp - 2005/2006


johnnyd
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2 pounds for a shrimp boil (Old Bay in beer with a squirt of lemon just before serving) tonight as an app for a gumbo. Suck 'em, peel 'em, eat 'em. Magnificent.

Chris: Where did you get them in PVD? Cost?

KV

All that is needed for evil to survive is for good people to do nothing

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No auctions since the 19th. Called the Exchange this morning and one boat was scheduled to go out but they haven't heard a confirmation from them yet.

We better see some action this week because I (and quite a few others, I'm sure) are counting on a pile of fresh shrimp for new year's weekend!

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

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Picked up two pounds of whole shrimp this afternoon for about three dollars. There were a handful of really small, say, one inch long, shrimpies with which I decided to try bigwino's al ajillo method.

Heated a sliced clove of garlic in peanut oil, added small shrimp, and sprinkled paprika all over.

gallery_16643_2196_14515.jpg

They became an ultra-crispy side to a little tuna loin I also picked up:

gallery_16643_2196_43374.jpg

A wee bit out of focus but you get the idea. A nice lunch for a rainy day off work. :smile:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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2 pounds for a shrimp boil (Old Bay in beer with a squirt of lemon just before serving) tonight as an app for a gumbo. Suck 'em, peel 'em, eat 'em. Magnificent.

Chris: Where did you get them in PVD? Cost?

Hey K, I got 'em where you saw 'em: WF on N Main for $6/lb.

Chris Amirault

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Happy :smile: to report that the little shrimps have reached my local Whole Foods in Montclair NJ. (Last year there weren't enough to go around the entire WF chain & I had to drive to a flagship-type store in Edgewater NJ to find them.)

They appeared earlier this week at $6.99 lb, but I didn't have a free night to cook until tonight, so I regretfully passed them by. Went back today & they were $3.99! I was thrilled. We dine well tonight. :biggrin:

Doubly happy since we had to cancel our Xmas trip to Maine at the last minute a/c a sick cat. (No shrimp samples for her!) If we can't get up there, it's nice that a bit of it makes its way down here.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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I had a seafood shipment for NYE arrive from Browne Trading Co. today including a pound of these sweet morsels. I made gambas al ajillo from Penelope Casa's Tapas book with these - awesome. I will try to post photos later.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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Local TV channel featured roadside shrimp vendors this morning. One guy, a lobsterman during summer, has been doing it 17 years. Lively interviews on the road from Rockland to Bucksport. They are having trouble getting product because boats will not go out to fish if the prices are low. Prices appear to be about $1.69/lb, whole shrimp only.

What do they do when it's slow? Read books and harass each other by cell phone.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

You knock me out as always johnnyd. I still don't see these in my haunts just 50 miles to the south in the Newbryport area. My contacts at David's Fish Market in Amesbury (aka 'The Greatest Place on Earth') say they haven't gotten to the right size yet - I think they process them there and will sell them shelled maybe in a few weeks at good prices; they do processing for a number of local fishermen.

Cheers,

L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

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The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

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I'd thought I'd note an article that appeared this AM in the newburyport daily news, which is right now on the front page of their online edition at

Click here for Newburyport Daily News Shrimp Article 1-14-06

The gist being that there are lots of shrimp but no one around here wants to fish them because the sole major processor left is not calling for the product.

I wrote earlier that the shrimp had yet to appear at my local fish market, where I usually find it shelled (!) this time of year for around $6 a pound, but apparently there are some at the local Shaw's - I'll see if I can't get some today for the PATs game!

L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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"Skimping on Shrimp" - Numbers replinished, but fishermen still shun the shellfish.

-Interesting story in today's Newburyport Daily News about the sorry market for these little delicacies.

Skimping on Shrimp

FYI - for those people looking for them in NE Mass, you can get them at the Yankee Fishermen's Cooperative in Seabrook, NH for $1.25/lb - no minimum.

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Thanks for posting that article guys. It echoes the plight of people who would process here in Maine but wouldn't without a sense of how long the seasons last - thus justifying the costs to set up equipment, hire, etc. Now that there are two years' seasons set up, processing shrimp is viable. I'm just upset that there appears to be too much trouble in distributing fresh northern shrimp to tri-state area markets - even with wholesale prices so freakin' low:

Portland Fish Exchange Shrimp Auction - December 31, 2005 thru January 6, 2006:

31062 lbs consigned

11479 lbs sold

$0.28 - low bid

$0.31 - average

$0.35 - high bid

Now if people in jersey are paying $6/lb for shelled fresh shrimp, and you buy 'em whole for a thirty-five cents a pound, why is this not a money-maker???

The only way the boats will go out is if there's a consumer market where they can sell 'em for a buck a pound. Even the delivery truck will make money here.

So who's got a big truck?! :hmmm:

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Now if people in jersey are paying $6/lb for shelled fresh shrimp, and you buy 'em whole for a thirty-five cents a pound, why is this not a money-maker???

Shelled? Nosirree. (Headless though.) Which makes the momeymaker question even more compelling.

Been out in the Midwest for more than a week, have lost touch with the Jersey market at this point. I'll file a report next week.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Actually, I did mean headless and cleaned of roe, which this afternoon, cost $3.99 at our local supermarket, which is in sight of the docks at Portland Fish Exchange.

Another reason why boats aren't leaving port:

...GALE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH MONDAY AFTERNOON...

.THIS AFTERNOON...NW WINDS 25 TO 35 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 45 KT.

SEAS 7 TO 11 FT. SNOW LIKELY. A CHANCE OF SNOW LATE. VSBY 1 TO 3 NM.

.TONIGHT...NW WINDS 25 TO 35 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 40 KT. SEAS 6 TO

9 FT. A CHANCE OF SNOW SHOWERS IN THE EVENING. FREEZING SPRAY.

Who wants to fish in that kind of weather for thirty cents a pound? These ain't King Crab! :blink:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Seems to me that demand is a big part of the problem too. As the Newburyport article above notes:

But local fishers agree that northern shrimp, being small and white, suffer image-wise compared to larger, colorful shrimp they say is farmed cheaply in the South or off foreign shores.

In our bigger-is-better culture, how many people are going to opt for these labor-intensive little guys just because they taste better?

The frustrating part is that they DO taste better.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Ow that's a depressing article.

Meanwhile I saw the shrimplets (headless/roeless) at my local Stop & Shop last night, $5.99 lb. So somebody is still catching & shipping them to Jersey.

Sadly, I had to pass; still recuperating from a nasty bout of viral gastroenteritis, won't be cooking anything other than rice & chicken broth for a while yet.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Damn... that is depressing.

Local TV news story said basically the same thing. Prices fell to ten cents a pound last week. Portland Fish Exchange consigned 12,066lbs of northern shrimp for auction but had no bids. No bids, no sale.

Things are so bad they can't even go to the birds! :huh:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Wow, I find that surprising that no one will buy the most recent catch. One would think that large scale purveyors would be able to move a good volume. One restaurant chef that I know says that he will buy 50-75 pounds, cook, and prepare them and freeze the meats, shells, etc. separately to last through spring and summer. Not that I recommend freezing anything, but definitely an economic option and takes up otherwise down time for prep and lunch cooks considering the seasonal lull.

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Just purchased and cooked 4# Maine Shrimp last night, for the first time. Kind of played around with them and tried a couple differenet preparations. I bought whole at Free Range for $1.20/# and can confirm that there has been a glut on the market. Evidently there are large amounts out there in the ocean and not enough demand to drive a high enough price to make it worthwhile to fish. The note about the shrimp being dumped on the beach has me scratching my head in disbelief and I was told that more likely the catch would just be frozen for later sale or foodservice usage.

Anyway,

with the largest whole shrip (2" length or more), I rinsed and deberried the eggs, then I quickly panned them as one would for Gambas al Ajillo with Spanish olive oil, chopped garlic, and finished with sea salt, Sarawak white pepper, and smoked paprika. Really great flavor and retention of juices, plus it took the least amount of time and work.

I deshelled the remainder (2 1/2#) and poached them in a light Thai coconut curry sauce with lemongrass, citrus, palm sugar, nam pla, and sesame oil (with the last being non-traditional for Thailand but really adds a nice flavor profile. Served with basmati rice. Overall, less happy with the results although it was well-made and flavored. Moreso, I felt that the fourty minutes of deshelling was not reciprocated in that the shrimp's delicate flavore and sweetness were muted.

I made a shrimp stock with the shells and heads for I will make a shrimp risotto for dinner tonight with caramelized leeks. Unlike tiger or white shrimp, the Maine shrimp produces a rather unattractive grey-colored stock from the eggs they are carrying. Tomato product and saffron in the simmering stock solved that issue.

Overall, great results and looking forward to having Maine shrimp later on in the week again.

Anyone out there know what the window is for availability for fresh shrimp, under normal circumstances and a normal year? I am guessing that these are not at the market in the spring and fall.

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is it just me or does this seem early for shrimp to be producing eggs?

Now that you mention it, it does appear a bit early for eggs, but in the ten years I've followed the fishery it's not weird enough to violate any "rule" that I know of. Last year when I visited the Auction I learned that there are at least four species out there so some boats could be setting their nets a little deeper, or shallower, and harvest a swarm that's well into propagating while others aren't at that stage yet. Beyond that, it could be water temperature fooling their hormones into thinking it's March... :unsure:

Anyone out there know what the window is for availability for fresh shrimp, under normal circumstances and a normal year? I am guessing that these are not at the market in the spring and fall.

Maine Shrimp Season is indeed a winter-only harvest. The seasons were determined annually at different lengths to regulate fishing effort on the shrimp. One year's season was only two weeks.

The problem that arose was one of planning for processing. If the season is only two or four weeks long, how can a processor justify fitting equipment and labor for processing shrimp with so little time to harvest product? And then how long is next year's season going to be? The ROI was way off.

But this year, the Dept. of Marine Resources set the season from December to April for two years in a row so processors can bank on five months of product and get loans for the gear to handle it. The DMR determined that the fishery has rebounded nicely enough to plan two years out.

But then there's the issue of markets...

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Portland Fish Exchange Shrimp Auction - January 14, thru January 21, 2006:

6055 lbs consigned

0000 lbs sold

$0.00 - low bid

$0.00 - average

$0.00 - high bid

:angry:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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THey're still showing up at Whole Foods in Jersey (price seems to have settled at $4.99 lb headless/shells on). I guess they aren't coming through the Fish Exchange?

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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