SeaFood Business

DEC 2013

SeaFood Business is the global trusted authority for seafood buyers and sellers. We are the seafood industry's leading trade magazine with more than 30 years of experience. Our coverage is based on the "business" of buying and selling seafood.

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U.S. News McLEAN, Va. Top 10 list shows 'familiarity and stability' T he National Fisheries Institute (NFI)'s Top 10 list of the most popular species in America for 2012 didn't change much from the previous year's list, which the organization says is a testament to the "familiarity and stability" of the American seafood diet. Shrimp, canned tuna and salmon took the top three positions, based on the 2012 data, followed in order by tilapia, Alaska pollock, pangasius, crab, cod, catfsh and clams. In 2012 consumers ate 4.6 billion pounds of seafood or 14.4 pounds per capita. "Te top 10 most popular fsh make up a little more than 90 percent of all the fsh Americans eat," says NFI President John Connelly. "It's a fairly stable list Crab Council sets new minimum size PASADENA, Calif. Te NFI Crab Council approved increasing the minimum size of crab its members will accept from processors from 8 centimeters to 10 centimeters. "We have looked at the biology of the blue-swimming crab and believe that raising the minimum harvest size to 10 centimeters will result in substantially more reproductive recruitment and contribute to the sustainability of the stock," says Ed Rhodes, the council's executive director and a longtime marine biologist. Te council already has a sourcing policy in efect that prohibits the taking of berried female crabs. "Tis is an example of the science and the practical application of policy working as a de facto regulation," says Brendan Sweeney of Handy International and the council's interim chair. Certain municipalities in Asia have moved to a 10-centimeter minimum size and others are considering it but the council's new guideline would be the frst multi-national, minimumsize sourcing policy for blueswimming crab. 8 SeaFood Business Yihe Corp. placed in receivership California-based Alaska salmon processor and packer Yihe Corp., which was featured prominently for the frst time in the SeaFood Business Top 25 North American Seafood Suppliers list (SFB May '13), is in receivership with one of its creditors. Central District Federal Court in California placed Yihe into receivership on Sept. 5, and appointed consultant James Wong the company's interim CFO to resolve a dispute between Yihe and creditor Resource One, according to Wong. When asked about the company's previous CFO, Wong replied, "My understanding (is), there was never a CFO here." Wong also confrmed that Dennis Morgan, the company's EVP of U.S. operations, was no longer with the company. Stephen Chen remains the company's owner and is based in China. Te receivership only applies to Yihe's U.S. operations, and does December 2013 but we see a slight increase in salmon consumption and an increase of about 15 percent, combined, in pangasius and tilapia so there is growth in certain areas." Jennifer McGuire, NFI nutrition communications manager, says the annual list spotlights trends in seafood consumption that are important in the health care feld. "Tere is an important message in seafood consumption trends for public health professionals; when the amount of fsh people eat goes up, ailments, medical costs and preventable deaths will go down," she says. not involve any subsidiaries overseas, says Wong, adding he was in charge of managing the Pasadena, Calif., company until it could pay down its creditors, including Resource One. Te company continues to operate, including securing letters of credit for purchasing product, which Wong says remains in high demand. Yihe ranked No. 10 on the annual Top 25 list, with $500 million in 2012 sales. NEW BEDFORD, Mass. Marlees sues former owner for racketeering Te owners of U.S.-based Marlees Seafood are suing founder and former owner John Lees Jr., alleging he used his position with his former company to set up a racketeering and kickback scheme. Delaware-based Seafood Development published detailed accounts of its allegations in a civil suit in U.S. District Court in Boston on Oct. 25, naming Lees, Marlees' Rhode-Island based attorney, Michael Sweeney, Massachusetts-based seafood company NorAtlantic 21 and Blue Sea Products in New Jersey as co-conspirators. Top 10 most popular seafood species Rank Species 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Pounds Shrimp Canned tuna Salmon Tilapia Alaska pollock Pangasius Crab Cod Catfsh Clams 3.8 2.4 2.02 1.476 1.167 0.726 0.523 0.521 0.5 0.347 TOP 10 TOTAL 13.48 Other 0.92 Per-capita consumption 14.4 Source: NFI Lees originally sold 80 percent of Marlees to Harbinger Seafoods, which later became Seafood Development, in September 2010. Te suit alleges that Lees violated the terms of the sale agreement, allowing him to retain 20 percent interest in the company through ML Holdings, Lees' holding company, and to stay on as president and CEO. Among its allegations, the suit detailed a complex kickback scheme involving Lees, competitor Blue Sea, Zeke Shahin, whom the suit claims Lees knew through contacts in the industry, and Shahin's company, TAF Enterprises, which did business with Marlees as a supplier. While the scheme was going on, the suit claimed Lees was also trying to get Marlees to hire Shahin as an executive with the company. Shahin is now CEO of Marlees. According to the suit, Lees would buy tilapia from TAF through Blue Sea or another shell company, and keep it in storage for a month. Ten, TAF would buy the tilapia back from Lees at a much higher price, with Lees taking 8 percent of that payment as a kickback. For updated NEWS, go to

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