Jax Fish House is committed to serving you sustainable seafood. We are supremely concerned about global oceanic fish stocks; every decision we make is guided by that concern. Our relationship with a fishmonger is dependent on their commitment to respecting and maintaining sustainable fisheries. We partner with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, The Blue Ocean Institute, Sea to Table, and Fish Choice among other sustainable seafood certification organizations to share important news in the ever changing world within our oceans. Due to our dedicated sustainable seafood practices, Jax Fish House is proud to be the first restaurant in Colorado to be certified by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch. Seafood is delicious…let’s make it last forever.
There has been a powerful consumer shift to value and source Sustainable Seafood choices. When you’re buying seafood, ensure it’s one of Seafood Watch ‘Best Choices’ or ‘Good Alternatives’ by using their handy Seafood Watch App. “There are a lot of issues facing the food industry right now – truth in labeling, sustainability, fair trade, I could go on for days. Thanks to guys like Larry Olmsted exposing the problems in labeling, and Michael Pollan addressing what should be recognized as food – we are starting to really think about what we eat.” …Read more here.
Did you know that the majority of shrimp are caught using a bottom trawl method? This is a type of fishing in which a net is pulled along the seafloor to catch shrimp and other bottom-dwelling organisms. Unfortunately, this method results in a bycatch rate of almost 90%. Many of these unwanted fish are typically thrown back dead or dying. In addition to a massive bycatch rate, trawling also destroys our seafloor habitats. We love shrimp as much as the next guy, which is why we source our Sustainable Seafood through trusted purveyors using responsible methods.
Forward-Thinking Management Can Maintain Fishery Productivity in the Wild
Pacific salmon in Alaska are among the most intensively managed species in the world, with excellent monitoring of fish populations and the fishery itself. Because salmon return to freshwater rivers to spawn, many populations in California and the Pacific Northwest have been severely depleted or eliminated by human activities, such as damming, deforestation, habitat loss and development. These collapses leave remaining stocks more vulnerable to fishing pressure.
The comparatively healthy river systems in Alaska, combined with precautionary fishery management, have resulted in salmon runs that are more resilient. Over the past 10 years, Alaska has landed roughly 20 times as much salmon as California, Oregon and Washington combined. The current health of Alaskan salmon populations and their habitat reflects the success of the state’s management practices.
Alaskan fishery managers have taken the long view, limiting the entry of new fishermen and boats, and monitoring salmon populations to ensure they remain large enough to reproduce naturally. Salmon fisheries can only be opened after enough fish migrate up river to spawn. This also ensures that enough salmon make it up the watersheds to feed the wildlife and ecosystems upstream. Over time, catch has risen and salmon runs have remained abundant.
The Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska is home to two of the most prolific sockeye salmon runs left in the world. In the last 20 years, key population indicators have been at record levels, making it one of the most lucrative salmon fisheries in Alaska. This is due largely to sound scientific management by state and federal agencies.
The principal problem in salmon aquaculture is how many wild feeder fish must be captured to feed farmed salmon. The ratio is 3:1, meaning it takes about 4 pounds of wild caught fish to provide the fish oil needed to raise 1 pound of salmon. Jax Fish House sources salmon from Verlasso, who feed their fish yeast that produces omega-3s and save 75% of feeder fish in traditional salmon aquaculture. To get a clear picture of the quantity of feeder fish that actually is, picture feeding salmon to a restaurant of 120 people, the industry on average, needs 240 pounds of feeder fish while Verlasso uses only 60 pounds, saving 180 pounds of feeder fish.
The philosphy is raising salmon in harmony with nature. “At every stage of our salmon’s life, we are attentive to the fish’s well-being and its relationship with the surrounding environment. How we raise our fish has a direct impact on the health of the local ecosystem.” Verlasso salmon flourish in the pristine surroundings of Patagonia, seemingly untouched by industry. The deep waters of their farms 60 to 80 meters, provide natural filtration while the strong currents and abundant supply of fresh water help keep the water clean and the salmon active, strong and healthy.
Traditional Salmon Bake
Have you ever been to a traditional Alaskan-style Salmon Bake?
It’s quite the experience with someone constantly managing the large open fire before staking up the large slabs of fresh Salmon to smoke above the flames. Jax Fish House in Fort Collins recently hosted, featuring Pacific Northwest Salmon at Native Hill Farm and it was quite the party!
The tradition of the Salmon Bake has deep roots in the Northwest. For centuries, Native Americans such as the Makah and S’Klallam have cooked salmon on a wood frame before an open fire. The practice is so widespread that no individual tribe lays claim to the technique. Typically a straight, strong branch of cedar or ironwood is split lengthwise at one end, then the boned salmon is fitted into the split to hold the fish flat so it will cook evenly, additional sticks are woven over and under the salmon at right angles to the branch.
The end result is fresh, perfectly cooked salmon with a woodfired flavor.
Join us at our Salmon Bake next summer to get the full experience!
West Coast Ground Fish
Did you know there are more than 70 species of rockfish?! Including Rock Cod, Rockfish and Thornyhead. Most are extremely longlived, deep-water fish. Check out this article from NPR detailing the difficulty in communicating these different varieties to diners. You can use this handy guide from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch to choose sustainable options.
The once troubled West Coast Ground Fish are a fantastic Sustainable Seafood option. Government regulators and fishermen have made such strides in how they regulate and catch these fish in recent years that in 2014 Monterey Bay Seafood Watch listed them as “Good” or “Best” seafood choices in their guide.
Although sometimes called black cod, alaska cod or butterfish, the sablefish is actually not a cod species. Rather, it is of the family Anoplopomatidae, which is confined to the icy waters off the Pacific Northwest. The wide-ranging, long-lived sablefish is popular in Japan, where most of the catch is marketed, but we love it here in the U.S. too. Wild Alaskan Sablefish is a superbly rich, silky delicacy. Because it lives in deep, cold waters, sablefish accumulates far more fat and omega-3 fatty acids than most other fish, making it incredibly luscious.
Sablefish live deep in the ocean (up to 8800 feet) and are typically caught using a longline method. The population is plentiful and since it’s high in omega-3s and has a “best” eco-rating from Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, it’s a favorable Sustainable Seafood choice.
Sablefish populations are healthy, and the fishing method (bottom longlines) produces little bycatch or harm to bottom habitat, making the Longline Method the best fishing method by Monterey Bay Seafood Watch. Bycatch is down 75%, and conservative catch quotas have limited the catch of overfished rockfish. Additionally, an innovation boom in gear design and fishing behavior has helped trawlers avoid bycatch hotspots and keep sensitive species out of nets.
See the Longline Method in action, courtesy of Monterey Bay Seafood Watch:
As the first restaurant partner in Colorado of Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, we’re committed to sustainable seafood, and we hope you are too.
Don’t forget, when you’re buying seafood ensure it’s a ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ by using the handy Seafood Watch app.