Kelp beer now available thanks to integrated multi-trophic aquaculture

P’fish’ers, check out this new “Kelp on the Way” ale from Picacaroons Traditional Ales, Cooke Aquaculture, and Thierry Chopin from the University of New Brunswick. The sugar kelp is certified organic and the beer has a toffee flavor! We can’t wait to find it in the States. Congrats, Thierry!

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Passionfish launches “The Kitchen Aquatic” ™ multi-media series

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P’fishers, we’re creating a new TV series called “The Kitchen Aquatic“(tm) featuring adventures in seafood cookery, spiced up with tales of ocean and seafood sustainability in action! The “fun with friends” book we’ve been developing, Ocean Tapas, will spawn from “The Kitchen Aquatic”, among other creative properties in the works.
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Inquire about fundraising opportunities by contacting us:
carl “at” passionfish “dot” org, patti “at” passionfish “dot” org, andrew “at” passionfish “dot” org
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SweetSpring Salmon: Freshwater Coho to the Rescue!

P’fish’ers, the future is here. Below is an interview with Per Heggelund, Founder and President of SweetSpring Salmon, Inc. The company produces freshwater coho (silver salmon) inland in spring water. It’s delicious, it’s mild, it’s nutritious — and it meets the highest sustainability criteria. In fact, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has listed it as “Super Green“, surpassing even its “best choice” seafood options.
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Above: Per Heggelund, Founder and President of SweetSpring Salmon. Photo by Theresa Vernetti.
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QUESTION: Many view salmon farming very negatively. What makes SweetSpring’s freshwater coho salmon sustainable?
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ANSWER: I view sustainability of our freshwater coho in the context of our long-term commitment to Pacific salmon and freshwater conservation. Our salmon conservation effort is focused on reducing harvest pressure on wild salmon stocks without disrupting their migratory paths and environment. The SweetSpring Salmon system is capable of achieving this goal because we operate land-based, self-contained freshwater facilities and we rely on a minimum of wild forage fish meat in feed.
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Similarly our freshwater conservation effort utilizes leading edge recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS) and wastewater treatment to minimize water usage and waste discharge. Combined, this focus allows us to produce the best and safest alternative to Alaska wild salmon as recognized by Seafood Watch at Monterey Bay Aquarium.
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Our closed containment facilities recirculate the purest spring water, the quality of which we carefully and continuously monitor. We build our facilities and tanks far from native salmon runs and our coho cannot escape. The feed blend we’ve developed is one on which the strain of coho we’ve bred thrives. We achieve an exceptional food conversion ratio using fish meal from by-products and vegetable proteins. Also part of what we’re doing that’s unique is farming a saltwater species in freshwater. This is only possible because of years of attentive husbandry have enabled us to identify and cultivate a strain of Pacific coho salmon that thrives in the purest of our sweet-spring water.
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I think it’s worth noting that even the environmental activist organization Farmed & Dangerous has endorsed our practices and embraced the opinion of SeaChoice that “closed containment aquaculture is a solution scientists, conservationists, and citizens that want to keep wild salmon around have been asking for, for a really long time.”
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We are proud of the healthfulness of our fish and the environmental sustainability of our production. We attend to every detail, a difference you can taste.
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QUESTION: What does sustainable mean to you, in the context of fisheries?

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ANSWER: Fisheries management should strive to sustain the natural abundance of our aquatic environment and its renewable resources for future generations. This goal requires that we don’t overexploit our resources or damage their restorative underpinnings. Nature is resilient but not limitless. Human activities tend to exceed the carrying capacity of the very ecosystems that we depend on for our survival. So our negative impacts on all wildlife including fish and shellfish increase with increasing population.
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To strike a new balance in fisheries, consumers must endorse conservation by lessening their demand for wild stocks and focusing on restoring fish habitats. Freshwater coho raised in land-based facilities have the potential to help us do both.
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QUESTION: Why is freshwater grown SweetSpring coho “Super Green®”?

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ANSWER: SweetSpring coho are both good for the ocean and people. This two-part statement is reflected in our dual attainment of a “Best Choice” green rating awarded by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) Seafood Watch program and further distinguished as “Super Green®.” Being green means having:
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• Best management and regulatory practices
• High-quality, nutritious feed with low impact on marine resources
• No escapements affecting wild stocks
• No disease transfer to wild stocks
• No detrimental habitat impacts
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Being “super green” requires a focus on food safety and high health:
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• Low levels of contaminants (PCB and Hg)
• High levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids
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Of the six seafood categories that are rated by MBA as “Super Green®,” only two are salmon: SweetSpring coho and some wild-caught Alaska salmon.
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QUESTION: How significant is aquaculture to the seafood industry?
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ANSWER: Its importance is enormous and growing. Aquaculture production is the world’s fastest-growing source of animal protein. It currently provides more than half of all seafood consumed globally, according to the UNFAO (Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).
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Additionally, the United States faces a staggering seafood trade imbalance. Considering simply salmon, the U.S. imports annually almost $2 billion worth. Most of this is farmed in ocean net pens, but some is also Alaskan wild salmon that has been transported to China and Thailand for reprocessing and exported back to the USA.
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QUESTION: Where are SweetSpring coho raised?
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ANSWER: Presently our coho salmon are grown at three U.S.-based, state-of-the-art closed containment facilities: Our original location in southwest Washington, which taps the glacial-fed springs of Mount Rainier, and two other sites situated in north-western Montana under the watchful eye of Hutterite colonies. Others are planned across North America’s heartland and close to major metropolitan markets to minimize the environmental impacts of transportation.
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QUESTION: What do you mean when stating “complete traceability from egg to plate”?
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ANSWER: We take salmon husbandry seriously. We monitor every crop of SweetSpring coho, harvesting and processing them carefully. Each shipment is marked and traced to confirm it is properly handled en route and to ensure it arrives fresh to the consumer.
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QUESTION: How flavorful is SweetSpring salmon?
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ANSWER: SweetSpring freshwater coho (silver salmon) have a mild flavor and delicate texture. Andrew Spurgin, an award-winning chef in San Diego and nationally recognized caterer, recently put our salmon through its paces. He roasted it in salt, bincho charcoal grilled it, sautéed it, poached it in olive oil, and smoked it. It excelled on all accounts. Our farmed coho are simply wildly good!
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[note from Patti: Andrew is my Passionfish co-founder. We recently promoted SweetSpring's freshwater coho for our annual Poisson d'Avril event held in San Diego.]
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QUESTION: How healthful is SweetSpring salmon?
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ANSWER: SweetSpring freshwater coho possess high levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids and extremely low levels of contaminants such as mercury (Hg), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). SweetSpring coho are raised in pure spring water and fed a custom blend of vegetable proteins, fish by-products, fish meal and essential omega-3 fatty acids. This unique feed formulation lessens reliance on the practice of using wild forage fish in the form of fishmeal and fish oil. Our feed is free of genetically modified crops (i.e. non-genetically modified) and our coho are hormone-free.
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QUESTION: Who started the SweetSpring Salmon company?

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ANSWER: It started with AquaSeed Corporation that I founded in 1988. Last year my partners and I renamed it SweetSpring Salmon, Inc. to better match our focus on salmon and water conservation and the marketing of our Super Green coho. At SweetSpring I act as President. Our CEO is Dr. Phillip David. Phil brings a strong background in livestock genetics.
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My arrival here took a circuitous route beginning in the town of Andenes, on the remote island of Andøya, Norway. My family there dates back four generations in the seafood industry. My hometown, which is 186 miles (300 kilometers) north of the Arctic Circle, has been an important fishing village since the Iron Age and was one of the largest fishing ports in Norway early in the 1900s. As a teenager, I had the opportunity to travel to New York State on a high school exchange program. I returned to the U.S. a few years later to attend the University of Washington. At the UW I earned both a master’s degree from the College of Environment, School of Fisheries’ Department of Food Science and later an MBA.
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Nearly three decades ago, I recognized that the US seafood consumer was demanding a year-around fresh supply of salmon that eventually would outstrip the limited seasonal availability that is supported by sustainable wild stocks. Thus began my pursuit of sustainable aquaculture focusing on Pacific salmon breeding combined with salmon and freshwater conservation.
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QUESTION: What is the history of SweetSpring Salmon, Incorporated?

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ANSWER: The origin of our company as AquaSeed started with a focus on Pacific salmon breeding, production and marketing of coho eyed eggs (salmon embryos) and Chinook captive broodstock. Shortly after I founded AquaSeed, we purchased Domsea coho pedigree stock from Campbell Soup Company’s Domsea Farms, Inc.
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Our Chinook program focused on conserving endangered Columbia River Spring Chinook. This program made us a national leader in private salmon conservation. AquaSeed maintained backup seed stock to assure the continued viability of unique Pacific salmon species that were struggling to survive under difficult circumstances. AquaSeed became the only private company to operate Safety Net (i.e. gene banking) programs for Pacific salmon listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and regulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, U.S. Department of Commerce. Now as SweetSpring Salmon we are applying what we’ve learned on the job of responsibly raising Pacific salmon for human consumption. We are wild salmon conservationists as much as salmon growers.
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QUESTION: Where can I purchase SweetSpring Salmon freshwater coho?
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ANSWER: Until our production increases, SweetSpring salmon may seem more rare than hen’s teeth. If you have the chance to travel to Canada, our fish can be found in Overwaitea supermarkets throughout British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. In Seattle, Washington, Mashiko Sushi and La Spiga serve our salmon. And in California, it is carried by seafood wholesaler Royal Hawaiian Seafood and offered in fine restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, such as OneMarket and Fog Harbor.
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Thanks, Per!
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P’fish’ers, here’s a photo of a fillet of SweetSpring’s freshwater coho before I pan seared it last night:
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And here it is right before I scarfed it (it was absolutely DELICIOUS):
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Our annual Poisson d’Avril a hit in San Diego!


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We held our annual Poisson d’Avril (April Fish Day) in conjunction with the San Diego Ocean’s Foundation Gala on April 26. We had a lot to celebrate! First off, our very own Andrew Spurgin earned the Foundation’s prestigious Roger Revelle Award for his tireless work on ocean and seafood sustainability over the past 15 years+.
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The Gala featured a dozen amazing local chefs and their culinary teams serving up delicious seafood. Marine science graduate students provided information about the featured products. We host the same types of engaging and entertaining gala events at Passionfish, such as our 2010 forum + feast held at Hotel Coronado.
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As part of our mission at Passionfish, we bring new sustainable fish and shellfish products to the marketplace. This year we introduced SweetSpring Salmon to the San Diego chefs and purveyors. SweetSpring Salmon is a freshwater coho raised inland in spring water. It is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Super Green” list since it is so good for the ocean and for human health.
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Our Poisson d’Avril this year featured a wonderful diversity of fish-shaped chocolates by SugarTowne, a woman-owned business in Santa Monica, Calif. These were gobbled up by the Gala guests in no time!
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For photos, check out our Facebook page! All of the photos, including the one above, were taken by the very talented Theresa Vernetti.

Passionfish Co-Founder Andrew Spurgin Honored with Dr. Roger Revelle Award

P’fish’ers, we are beyond thrilled to give you this fin-tastic news from San Diego: Our very own Andrew Ryland Spurgin has been honored with the Dr. Roger Revelle Award.
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Please see the news release below and join us in San Diego April 26, 2012, for the San Diego Oceans Foundation Gala. The event is nearly sold out so act fast!
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Andrew Spurgin selected as 24th annual Dr. Roger Revelle Perpetual Award recipient

The San Diego Oceans Foundation has selected Andrew Spurgin as this year’s recipient for his dedication of sustainable seafood practices and commitment to encourage ocean stewardship.
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The San Diego Oceans Foundation’s (SDOF) most prestigious honor, the Roger Revelle Award, is awarded annually to a San Diegan in science, academia, industry, military, recreation or philanthropy who demonstrates personal initiative in encouraging stewardship of the world’s precious ocean resources. The award is named for the late Dr. Revelle, the fifth director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the driving force in creating the University of California, San Diego, and the first Director of the Center for Population Studies at Harvard. Past recipients include: filmmaker Howard Hall, Dr. Walter H. Munk, and Milton Shedd.
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This year’s recipient, Andrew Ryland Spurgin, is an innovator, inspirational leader, and an incredible culinary master. Mr. Spurgin is a chef/partner at Campine, A Culinary + Cocktail Conspiracy and is the co-founder of Passionfish and Cooks Confab. He also sits on the Advisory Board of Catering Magazine and Event Solutions Magazine. He is an Associate Board Member of the Slow Food Convivium San Diego. He is a past member of the Director’s Cabinet for Scripps Institution of Oceanography and E.W. Scripps Associate. He assisted in the development of Blue Ocean Institute’s “Green Chefs Blue Ocean” program, a national curriculum addressing sustainable seafood education for culinary students and continuing education for chefs. He sits on the Board of Trustees on the International Catering Association’s Educational Program and is a co-founder of The Culinary Liberation Front.
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Mr. Spurgin has produced and designed menus and events throughout the United States, in addition to Canada, England and Mexico. He regularly lectures to the industry and public and youth audiences too on sustainability, cooking, event design, culinary responsibility and entertaining. His events, interviews and photos have been featured in numerous local and national magazines, radio and TV. San Diego Home/Garden inducted Mr. Spurgin into the Chefs Hall of Fame in 2011. San Diego Magazine named him and Cooks Confab 50 People to Watch in 2011. He has received the coveted ACE Award as Best Caterer in the West, Spotlight Award as National Caterer of the Year, he has consistently won accolades from a host of local magazines and media as Best Caterer in San Diego.
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Mr. Spurgin has taken a leadership role with the San Diego Oceans Foundation as this year’s Culinary Chairperson for their upcoming sustainable seafood week and gala fundraiser at SeaWorld San Diego. Mr. Spurgin has been instrumental in educating chefs worldwide on the importance of sustainable practices in and out of the kitchen. His dedication and passion for the sustainable movement inspires others and proves that a simple choice can be delicious and have a lasting, beneficial impact on our environment.
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The award will be presented at SDOF’s sustainable seafood gala on April 26, 2012 at SeaWorld San Diego’s Turtle Reef exhibit. This event is SDOF’s largest fundraiser of the year, which funds their education and research programs in the community. Unlike most seated dinners, our guests roam the 14 different celebrity chef stations where they can interact with the chefs, learn about the proteins and understand their roles in sustainability.
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Click for more on the Roger Revelle Award
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About San Diego Oceans Foundation
Since 1984, the San Diego Oceans Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, has built a legacy of providing hands-on, meaningful volunteer programs that protect ecosystems, increase the understanding of marine life and provide solutions to environmental challenges. Whether it’s educating youth about marine science, restoring fish populations, tagging and monitoring lobster or educating people to become ‘citizen scientists’, each volunteer gains a deeper appreciation for our oceans. Visit us: www.sdoceans.org
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Contact: John Valencia
Telephone: 619-523-1903
Email: john@sdoceans.org
Website: www.sdoceans.org