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Prime Seafood, Kensington-based wholesaler


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I just learned from a friend of this blog dealing with Sustainable Seafood, particularly the latest comment.

My 5 year old company, based in Washington DC, supplies only sustainable seafood (primarily fresh king salmon, halibut and sablefish starting about Mar 25) and seafood that does not contain dangerous contaminants (e.g., methyl mercury, PAHs, PCBs and dioxin) . We regularly serve about 70 restaurant clients in the Washington DC metropolitan area (Hook and Dino's are examples; most of the rest are listed on our website at http://www.PrimeSeafood.com) as well as others in our new southern and mid-west market areas of Atlanta, Savannah, Hilton Head, Sea Island, Louisville and Charleston.

I am a fisheries biologist, by profession, with over 35 years of federal government experience in both national and international fisheries conservation and management (see my other website devoted to big fish at http://www.BigMarineFish.com). Prime Seafood actively advocates for our chefs to switch from unsustainable to sustainable seafood and we recommend they (and consumers) use the Seafood Guide produced by the Blue Ocean Institute (http://www.blueocean.org/files/Seafood_Guide.pdf) to guide their buying. Hook hands out these guides with the check and I can provide Dinos with with a big stack when we receive our re-supply in early March.

For U.S. seafood items, one can find out which common species are "overfished" and thus which ones we should avoid, by visiting the National Marine Fisheries Service's website (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch). This list is updated regularly; NMFS (actually the Secretary of Commerce) must furnish its list of "overfished" species to Congress annually and, for each, it must develop and undertake a rebuilding plan to "recover" each generally within 10 years. The problem is the fishery managers have been dragging their feet for the past 7 or 8 years to delay painful economic cuts to the commercial fishing industry. Now, push is coming to shove and the availability of many popular species will be reduced drastically. Prime Seafood has been aware of this looming situation and has sought out sustainable sources of fish and shellfish from emerging fisheries elsewhere - one of which is being guided for sustainability by a colleague.

As has been pointed out on this blog by others, the subject of which seafood items to avoid is often complex - it depends on what is caught, what else is caught with it, where, how, even when. But it is very important for consumers to become part of the soulution to the problem. I can assure you that chefs find it very uncomfortable for a customer to question them about serving a fish or shellfish whose population is in trouble (i..e., on the "overfished" list or on the Blue Ocean Institute's "red" list) and your comment will have an impact on what gets served there in the future. In terms of the serious dangers associated with most "farm-raised" salmon including cancer risk, please see our website blog at http://primeseafood.com/b/ But excuse the intro para of gobldegook (we are just getting it organized).

And for information on all the many advantages of consuming healthy fish, check out this section of our website http://www.primeseafood.com/health_benefits.php

Jim Chambers

Prime Seafood


Jim, are you purely restaurant supply, or do you have any direct-to-consumer retail sales?

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I've bought fish from Jim, so I can attest that it is super-fresh. He almost always sells only whole fish. They are gutted but not de-scaled. Unless you can deal with a whole fish, and are prepared to scale and filet it yourself you are better off buying from a fish market. But maybe, for a larger fish, you can split it with a friend.

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I've bought fish from Jim, so I can attest that it is super-fresh. He almost always sells only whole fish. They are gutted but not de-scaled. Unless you can deal with a whole fish, and are prepared to scale and filet it yourself you are better off buying from a fish market. But maybe, for a larger fish, you can split it with a friend.

And that friend just might scale and filet the fish for you. Especially if you transport the fish across state lines. <_<:rolleyes:

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Ivory King Salmon look like a regular (red meat) king salmon, but their flesh is ivory-colored and the taste is a bit richer. Those who know both generally prefer the ivories. Both types are very high in heart-healthy Omega-3s. Salmon, and kings in particular because of their high oil content (that equates to taste), are the best protein source one can eat. Unlike all the other types of salmon, ivories are unable to lay down the pigments (carotene and xanthophyll) that come from eating red things like shrimp or krill. I had our wild Alaskan ivory king salmon at TenPenh recently and it was the best fish I have ever eaten. For comparison, we also ordered our Alaskan halibut, which was spectacular, but the ivory was even better - just incredible.

In Alaskan waters, ivories are found only in what is called "Southeast Alaska," the part that “hangs down” the coast toward Washington state. That is the Tongass National Forest and it’s essentially a pristine rainforest. The capital, Juneau, is located there as is Sitka, where our kings are landed.

We get them from the Seafood Producers Cooperative, whose members/owners are the small-boat salmon and halibut fishermen who fish from California to Alaska. They also bring us sablefish (real name, blackcod), coho salmon (aka silver salmon) and lingcod. Like all the fish we sell, all of these species are from sustainably managed fisheries which have been so certified by the international Marine Stewardship Council (I was honored to have served on its Board of Advisors when it was formed). The MSC seal is the equivalent of a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for marine fish and shellfish (www.msc.org).

Ivory kings are caught by trolling – essentially like sport fishing only with about 30 lines out, each with a “flasher” ahead of the lure and hook. The fish are brought in one-at-a-time, bled immediately (which extends “shelf life” to at least 7 days), gutted, washed and buried in crushed ice. They are treated extremely carefully because they are so valuable. Trips are short and the fresh fish are flown overnight directly to Reagan National Airport where we pick them up in our refrigerated truck and distribute all of them that same day.

Restaurants regularly serving these spectacular seafood treats include the following (those who have ivories this weekend are marked with an asterisk):

* 2941



* Saint Ex

* Assaggi



Circle Bistro



* Firefly



* Darlington House

* Nora’s


Jim Chambers, owner

Prime Seafood

"Sustainable Seafood for our Best Restaurants"



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Jim, can you tell us whether there are any retailers selling Ivories?

Yes, The Organic Butcher in the heart of McLean has ivory king salmon this weekend, if it's not all gone by now. They have a large variety of excellent quality meats and offer our "red" and "ivory" king salmon regularly.

Organic Butcher

6712 Old Dominion Dr.

McLean, VA 22101

ph 703-790-8300

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