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Gulf of Maine Shrimp - 2006/2007


johnnyd
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Ladies and Gentlemen... may I present a toast to the opening of this years Shrimp Season...

gallery_16643_3977_27436.jpg

Now that's what I'm talkin' about! :raz:

"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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The Maine Dept. of Marine Resources website posted this press release on November 7th...

Northern Shrimp 2007 Fishing Season Set at 151 Days

Section Tentatively Commits to a 2008 Fishing Season for Same Duration

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Northern Shrimp Section approved a 151-day fishing season for the 2006-2007 northern shrimp fishery, an 11-day increase from last year's season. The approved season was based on recommendations of the Northern Shrimp Technical Committee and Advisory Panel.

"Our efforts to reduce fishing mortality in the early 2000s have led to a greater abundance of shrimp and record catches in the Gulf of Maine summer survey," stated Section Chair Ritchie White from New Hampshire. "By expanding the upcoming the fishing season, we are able to pass on the benefits of an improved resource by providing new harvesting and marketing opportunities."

The season starts December 1, 2006 - ends April 30, 2007

The article goes on to say that "Reappearance of strong 2003 and 2004 year-classes show promise in maintaining relatively high stock abundance and enhancing market conditions. "The Section is encouraged by the prospect of continued abundance levels that should support increased economic benefits and stability to harvesters and processors," "

Those of you who remember last year's coverage of the Maine Shrimp Fishery will remember that the demand for shrimp on the floor of the Portland Fish Exchange was pretty damned spotty by the start of February. The price for daily landings was so low, it wasn't worth the gas to leave port.

But that was what I saw. Not all landings go through the auction house. There's no rule saying you have to consign your catch to an auction house. Years ago when I was diving for Sea Urchins the smart boats didn't leave the harbor unless they had lined up a buyer who would be waiting for your return. Other boats took their chances amidst the chaos on the pier where several buyers would bid for your catch. Sometimes you got a better deal - sometimes you didn't. Sometimes... there were no buyers at all.

So there's a longer season in which to fish for these delicious local morsels...

What's going to happen this season?

Nobody knows... but I can tell you what happened on the first day:

Portland Fish Exchange Shrimp Auction - December 3, 2006:

BOATS: 1

6103 lbs consigned

6103 lbs sold

$0.39 - low bid

$0.39 - average

$0.39 - high bid

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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Imagine my surprise when I dropped in on Harbor Fish Market and saw a fish tote overflowing with Maine Shrimp. I was expecting the season to start December 12th. I've been so busy I forgot to check Maine's DMR website. I didn't have my camera but here is a shot from last year.

Today's price:

Retail Prices - Harbor Fish, Custom House Wharf - Dec 4 2006

Whole: $1.49/lb

Headless: $3.99/lb

Peeled: $6.99/lb

...compared with last year:

Retail Prices - Harbor Fish, Custom House Wharf - Dec 14 2005

Whole: $1.39/lb

Headless: $4.50/lb

Peeled: $6.99/lb

I bought a big scoop for $2.72

check out those eggs...

gallery_16643_3977_4585.jpg

: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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As soon as I could, I peeled the first one clean and popped it in my mouth.... sublime. :biggrin:

I dipped a few more in some home-made ponzu sauce while the water boiled. No time for pictures, my hands were too slimey anyway. It appeared I hadn't lost much of my peeling skills between seasons.

Fresh out of the pot...

gallery_16643_3977_11676.jpg

gallery_16643_3977_6190.jpg

The eggs turned pink when cooked - 30 seconds for a shade more than a pound.

gallery_16643_3977_6666.jpg

The meats were perfect. Overcooking these delicacies will result in mush, fit perhaps for dumplings. I pulled these after exactly 30sec, knowing they will continue cooking in the colander - I learned last year that spraying with cold water to arrest cooking washes out some flavor. Part of the fun is getting them just right.

I happened to have a ripe avocado begging to be paired with the season's first harvest,

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Add a dollop of ginger/miso stuff and we have lunch.

gallery_16643_3977_4619.jpg

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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I'm placing my order with my purveyor as soon as I get in tomorrow. Man, I'm excited about this, and I plan to alter them very little. A boil, and a risotto, maybe a pasta. I'll report back when I recieve them.

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Good deal, Timh!

We did some calling last year at season's start and wholesalers were skittish. Some said they were waiting for them to "get bigger", others didn't care. You may be disappointed that these little guys are not a priority, and it may be some time before you get some.

The point being that we all have to put pressure on our retailers and purveyors of restaurant supply so that a real demand is felt on the wholesalers. Once folks in Plymouth and beyond nag and badger and whine, distributors are finally going to cave in and stock them. Just don't forget to buy them when they are there.

Today's price was $0.39 per pound! If someone airlifted those and charged $8/lb, the shipper makes money, the customer gets a delicious novelty - which everyone likes - and the boys on the boat finally get a day's pay.

...and THAT'S what I'm talkin' about.

"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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Great pictures, johnnyd! Just beautiful!

The start of the season seemed early, which was a nice surprise. Sounds like there are tons of the critters this year, making for a good long season. I am bound and determined not to poke the heck out of my fingers this year! I don't think my peeling skills are as evolved as yours are, johhnyd!

Edited by Ellie (log)
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Your pictures are making me drool. My favorite way to eat shrimp is boiled in the shell. I love the fact yours are head on. I think they have more flavor when cooked that way. Ponzu is my favorite condiment for raw shellfish.

I love the Louisiana Gulf shrimp I can get locally. If you have had these before, can you compare the taste and texture fo the two.

I also love those prices. What is the count on a pound of those shrimp?

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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I can tell you that the Maine shrimp are a "sweeter" cleaner taste. This is not to default gulf shrimp, I grew up on them and having cooked in NO and Houma, I know and love the local shrimp there. But something about the shrimp in Maine, generally they are smaller, they are red out of the water, and they are a clean taste that calls for very little adulteration in cooking, as well as they are so tender that any overcooking renders them fit for a bisque(Plan B). Is it the colder waters? the funny accents? I don't know, but they are amazing and the best kept secret in New England.

Edited by Timh (log)
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Very interesting article about the need to market Maine Shrimp and a couple reasons why there are problems.

Among them, a break in the supply over the last decade...

Shrimp has been an up and down fishery for years, and many in the room attributed the problem of market retention to the annual season limits set by the Department of Marine Resources. Many believe that regulations aimed at preserving shrimp stocks actually hampered their ability to market their product. Short fishing seasons sent processors scurrying for other products, they said.

"If the ocean's full of it and we can't sell it, we don't have anything," fisherman William Smith said.

Three years ago, shrimpers faced a 28-day season and many never went to sea. The season was expanded to 140 days this year. The fluctuating seasons sapped the market for Maine shrimp and resulted in lower prices. Ten years ago, shrimpers were receiving $1 a pound for their product; this year they are getting a quarter.

"I just can't bring myself to send my boat out for 25-cent shrimp," Phippsburg dragger owner Rick Albertson said. "Look at the family farm. There's no difference between them and family fishermen. You're going to hell in a handbasket."
"Maine shrimp has lost its taste image with the general public," he said. "Most people don't have the slightest idea of what to do with them."

The article is dated March 7 of this year, Bangor Daily News, right after the annual Maine Fisherman's Forum in Rockport, Maine.

"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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Mmmm, good news! Time to start scouting out the Jersey fish markets! Here's hoping for a good full season.

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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What is the count on a pound of those shrimp?

Depending on where we are in the season, 40 to 60 count per pound, Mr. Fiend. Sometimes I pick out the really small ones to cook whole, in-shell. See this thread from last year's shrimp season for more pics and information.

I can tell you that the Maine shrimp are a "sweeter" cleaner taste.

That they are Timh. I'd guess the water temperature, salinity and bacteria-count have something to do with the distinctive flavor difference - but I like to think it's the funny accents. :wink:

I don't think my peeling skills are as evolved as yours are, johhnyd

I'm thinking of organizing a demo at Harbor Fish and the other stores in town so I can show some of my tricks - It will have to wait for January. But eG members are eligible for the VIP tour at my place. Bring your favorite champagne! :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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Portland Fish Exchange Shrimp Auction - December 4, 2006:

BOATS: 1

3659 lbs consigned

3659 lbs sold

$0.39 - low bid

$0.39 - average

$0.39 - high bid

Portland Fish Exchange Shrimp Auction - December 6, 2006:

BOATS: 1

4387 lbs consigned

4387 lbs sold

$0.35 - low bid

$0.35 - average

$0.35 - high bid

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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Portland Fish Exchange Shrimp Auction - December 4, 2006:

BOATS: 1

3659 lbs consigned

3659 lbs sold

$0.39 - low bid

$0.39 - average

$0.39 - high bid

Portland Fish Exchange Shrimp Auction - December 6, 2006:

BOATS: 1

4387 lbs consigned

4387 lbs sold

$0.35 - low bid

$0.35 - average

$0.35 - high bid

Okay, so the gross to the shrimper is $1,400-$1,500 or thereabouts. If it's a one-person boat and fuel was only $100-$200 bucks and the boat and equipment are paid for (unlikely), and it was a single-day trip, not too shabby. But I'm guessing my assumptions are way off base. So tell us, johnnyd, at these prices and at this level of haul, does it make sense for anyone to continue to shrimp in the Gulf of Maine?

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Johnny--

My 4-ish yrs hear in Portcity have been lacking when it comes to 'licious shramps. I squandered last years bounty and don't want the same thing to happen this year. If Mike at Harbor won't let you demo the Casco Candy, I will surely take you up on the offer to attend a seminar at Casa JohnnyD!

Mayhaps we could trick other'n Publicans into the fray (I'm thinking Dale @ Boru, for certain).

I've got a few other crazy ideas in mind that the rules say I can't post here, even though they're shrimp related.

myers

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Myers, you are a nut :laugh: I'll polish my cocktail shaker in anticipation of your visit!

Ben, the owner of Harbor Fish Market would definitely go for it, and probably add others to the mix - I think we should corral a couple restaurants too. Frankly, I can see a Annual Shrimp Festival being born as I type this... maybe in five years, DiMillo's will have a gigantic shrimp balloon floating above the wharf! :rolleyes: A competition for best recipes, peeling contests (I'm takin' that one home), kids in costumes... all as the wind and snow swirl around Longfellow's Statue...

Dale won't listen to me since I made him order a bottle of Pitu Cachaca when the Brazilians came to watch the World Cup at Brian Boru in June. It's still sitting behind the bar! He won't serve caipirinhas unless I'm there - he just hands me the muddler I gave him and a handful of limes, then says, "You do it!" :wink:

"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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Well, the shrimp are in Jersey. $5.99 the lb, headless, about 1/2 the price of other wild-caught shrimp at the local Whole Foods. Man do they look beautiful, all nice & red next to several tubs of various-sized gray shrimp.

So you know what I'm having for dinner tonight. We'll see how well my peeling skills have survived the long layoff.....

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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Forgot to add a shot of a crazy ceviche I made with some fresh maine shrimp the first week it was available.

gallery_16643_3977_4293.jpg

It's crazy because my lime juice, garlic, thai chili, cilantro sauce turned pink when I added my shrimp. I couldn't wait very long. Looks weird but tastes incredible! Had I been patient, or in better skilled hands, this could become a thing of beauty.

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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A bistro near us in Upstate NY got some of these last year. Served them sauteed in butter and garlic. It was the first time I ever tried them and I was hooked. Those sweet tails mixed with buttery roe are a thing of beauty. I'm going to have to ask them if they got any this year...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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Imagine my surprise when I dropped in on Harbor Fish Market and saw a fish tote overflowing with Maine Shrimp.  I was expecting the season to start December 12th.  I've been so busy I forgot to check Maine's DMR website.  I didn't have my camera but here is a shot from last year.

Today's price:

Retail Prices - Harbor Fish, Custom House Wharf - Dec 4 2006

Whole: $1.49/lb

Headless: $3.99/lb

Peeled: $6.99/lb

...compared with last year:

Retail Prices - Harbor Fish, Custom House Wharf - Dec 14 2005

Whole: $1.39/lb

Headless: $4.50/lb

Peeled: $6.99/lb

I bought a big scoop for $2.72

check out those eggs...

gallery_16643_3977_4585.jpg

:blink:

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Do you mean literally you steam them in a colendar for just 30 seconds after the water boils? What if they are 2 days out of water? (I live in Hartford).

Roger

Imagine my surprise when I dropped in on Harbor Fish Market and saw a fish tote overflowing with Maine Shrimp.  I was expecting the season to start December 12th.  I've been so busy I forgot to check Maine's DMR website.  I didn't have my camera but here is a shot from last year.

Today's price:

Retail Prices - Harbor Fish, Custom House Wharf - Dec 4 2006

Whole: $1.49/lb

Headless: $3.99/lb

Peeled: $6.99/lb

...compared with last year:

Retail Prices - Harbor Fish, Custom House Wharf - Dec 14 2005

Whole: $1.39/lb

Headless: $4.50/lb

Peeled: $6.99/lb

I bought a big scoop for $2.72

check out those eggs...

gallery_16643_3977_4585.jpg

:blink:

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Welcome Roger. No, I don't steam them - I drop at least a pound into a 5gal pot of water at a rolling boil, then drain after 30 sec.

TIMH: If you get a chance, I'd love to see your bisque recipe.

Portland Fish Exchange Shrimp Auction - December 11, 2006:

BOATS: 1

TRUCKS: 1

6801 lbs consigned

6801 lbs sold

$0.37 - low bid

$0.37 - average

$0.37 - high bid

"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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I'm thinking shrimp stew ASAP at ladle. we used to do a killer maine shrimp bisque at the old restaurant. a little dollop of creamed leeks in a warm bowl, with a few cleaned raw shrimp and scattered black pearl caviar.....the soup was poured tableside and the heat of the poured soup would poach them just perfectly.

Also, a braised pig's foot dish with poached maine shimp....crispy bits of braised trotter, melted red cabbage, some honey, and the little poached shimp. any new apprentice had shrimp cleaning duty, and man, they all had it down to a science. One kid walked out because he didnt want to clean them......

i'm going to harbor mkt

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Okay, so the gross to the shrimper is $1,400-$1,500 or thereabouts. If it's a one-person boat and fuel was only $100-$200 bucks and the boat and equipment are paid for (unlikely), and it was a single-day trip, not too shabby. But I'm guessing my assumptions are way off base. So tell us, johnnyd, at these prices and at this level of haul, does it make sense for anyone to continue to shrimp in the Gulf of Maine?

rlibkind, below is a pic of a shrimper off-loading his catch from this thread. That's around forty feet long. The captain had two helpers I think, and I'd say they get paid a stipend of $100/day plus a small cut of the catch. The boat also has to pay for ice and other overhead. So let's say that takes costs up to $500 - and you're right, the boat is probably not owned so there's that expense too.

gallery_16643_859_6802.jpg

I hear the magic number is a buck a pound. If a couple days out nets 4000 pounds, that is a day's pay for this venture. But to answer your question, it's going to have to be asked of the captain: Is it worth it to you to shrimp in this market?

Some captains will tell you they will go out no matter what because it's what they do and you never know what the nets will bring on board. It's early in the season and boats are working out the kinks in the fishing process - and there haven't been enough days yet when the boat gets paid below expectations so the frustration level is reasonably low.

I don't feel a vibe for this fishery yet. Ten years ago when the coast was on fire about sea urchins, there was a kinetic energy. The market was very hot. Things were rolling so fast, the State of Maine couldn't write regulations in time before tens of millions of pounds were harvested and five divers drowned.

If people figured out how to romanticize this critter a little, then develop a (no doubt, expensive) way to transport them in a zero-decay fashion without freezing, demand goes up, the market price would rise, and another unique (and sustainable) seafood item hits the tables with a built-in wow factor.

I meet a lot of people who don't think they are worth the trouble, but I disagree. besides, some of the planets' most interesting taste experiences can only happen with a little extra work.

"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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