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the average, fresh fish prices on February 15 decreased as compared to January 11, 1944, by 1.74 cents per pound.
The changes in retail fish prices from January 11 to February 15, 1944, both in the number of items showing increases, decreases, and no change (expressed in the percentage of all comparisons) and in the actual average cents-per-pound are shown in the following table,
Changes in Retail Fresh Fish Prices from Jan, 11 to Feb, 15, 1944, in 10 Selected Cities
Number of Changes in
Increase No Change Decrease Increase Decrease
94 De troit
59 San Francisco
The decreases per pound are indicated in the following graph,
As far as it could be determined by interviewing the retail dealers involved, the reasons for the greater cents-per-pound decrease in New York, Chicago, and Detroit, was the
better enforcement of the regulation by
local authorities. If other reasons, for
example, increased landings alone, had
tainly would have been affected not less, New York
but probably more, than New York. But in
New York, local OPA authorities caused an Caicago
early publication and a precise determi
nation of the ceiling prices under the reDetroit
gulation, while in Boston, local authori
ties apparently did not give clear inSan Francisco
structions to retailers. The trade it
self nowhere has complained about MPR-507, Pittsburgh
where enforced equally and explained clear
As far as the comparison of prices Cincinnati
of the two intervals, January 25 to Feb
ruary 15, and January 11 to February 15, Columbus
is concerned, valuable observations can
At first, the number of price de
creases was greater for the period JanWinneapolis
uary 25 to February 15 than for the period
January 11 to February 15. This means Average
that in the first excitement the penduTon Cities
lum of price movements swung toward the
decreasing side more than could be main-3 -4
-6 tained. The conclusion is permitted that Cents per pound
psychological factors played an important
part; namely, the fear that more species would be included, or the expectation of sharzer enforcement, or the expectation that a large amount of frozen fish would flood the market. On February 15, there was a distinct recession of some price decreases which had taken place.
. The study shows that even in price administration the "soup is not eaten as hot as it is cooked." In this case, the soup became slowly but decisively cooler during the 20 days after it was served.
Four other facts evolve from the study:
1. MPR-507 has had a greater effect on stores selling fish and seafood exclusively than on chain or
combined food stores, On February 15, 1944, as compared with January 11, 1944, in specialized stores about 72 percent of all fish prices had changed; in chain stores only about 59 percent had changed; and in combined food stores about 66 percent had changed. The conclusion is permitted that combined food dealers may be able to balance repercussions caused by maximum price regulations by adjustments in other food departments,
2. Price regulation does not always decrease prices. Several marked price increases were found on
February 15. Tis means that in some cities, the regulation increased the actual prices above
3. Some reports indicate that, in general, frozen fish prices have paralleled fresh fish price move
ents. This may have been only a temporary consequence caused by the same psychological reasons as mentioned above, but it is a fact which cannot be overlooked in view of future price regula tion,
4. Sales have not been unfavorably affected. Records of the volume of sales were available in only
a few cities. In Cincinnati, Columbus, and Pittsburgh, sales remained stabile during the period studied; in Minneapolis chain store sales decreased, while the small combined food stores increased their sales and the specialized stores maintained their sales volume. New York sales increased heavily, in some cases by 200 percent, Chicago sales increased in chain stores during the week preceding February 15 (125 percent on the average), wile in tine week preceding January 25, there was a decrease of about 49 percent. The other fish distributing stores in Chicago continued nearly the same sales volume during the whole period studied.
It may be concluded that MPR-507 was a successful venture of the OPA, but still an adventure, Prices have decreased, while regular distribution channels have not been disturbed. The price decrease in the later part of the period studied was accompanied by higher landings, which again were caused by larger runs and by the ending of the fisherman's strike in the New England area.
There is no doubt that the average Mrs. Smith could and did buy fish cheaper on February 15 than on January 11, 1944. From the standpoint of an advocate of the fishing and fish-processing industries, this is a welcome effect of MPR-507. On the other hand, no conclusion is permitted as to whether MPR-507 will continue to be salutary for productionconsumer relations if adverse runs or other production difficulties should cause a decline in market supplies. Still more the demonstrated sensitiveness toward price movements of specialized stores as compared with other types of retail stores makes it imperative to apply all precautions possible before changing price levels to which the highly specialized branches of the fishery industry have become accustomed.
By Henry M. Bearse*
For many years, anglerfish has been eaten by Italians living along the East Coast of the United States. Possessing the scientific name Lophius piscatorius, this fish belongs to the family Lophidae--the Anglers or Fishing Frogs. Other common names for the species are: Goosefish, monkfish, angler, bellows fish, all mouth, molligut, and fishing frog. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the term "Anglerfish" as acceptable and appropriate for labeling L. piscatorius. This name has been selected by Fish and Wildlife Service personnel, after consultation with the trade, as the most descriptive and appropriate for use.
The anglerfish never has been widely used, attributable perhaps to its grotesque appearance and unusual cooking requirements. Recently, however, because of wartime need for new food supplies, attempts have been made to develop a wider market for the species. Under the supervision of the Committee for Increased Utilization of Sea Food Resources'il a program to develop interest in this fish was initiated in 1942. *Aquatic biologist, Division of Fishery Biology, Cambridge, Mass. 1/ This Committee, composed of representatives for New England fishermen, fish wholesalers, the U. S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, the V. S. Food and Drug Administration, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce, was formed to stimulate development of fisheries for little-known species of fish which could be landed and marketed in increased quantity.
In spite of the fact that large quantities have been marketed in France and England and that recipes prepared by the Committee have shown promise, it has been difficult to get processors to utilize this species. This condition has been caused partly by a shortage of experienced help in processing plants, but is more directly attributable to complications of preparation for food. When used fresh, the white and firm flesh tends to become stringy and tough unless special precaution is taken in cooking. Italian families recommend parboiling as a preliminary to frying and some families of Polish descent have used this fish successfully in the form of a stew, Smoking either in the form of a "Scotch haddie cure" or in the usual "pinnan haddie" type of preparation appears to remove the objections mentioned above. When smoked, experiments have shown that the anglerfish makes an excellent product with qualities approaching the best of our smoked fish products,
As landed ex-vessel, the anglerfish consists of only the tail portion. The very large and cumbersome head is removed at sea. Taken by either otter trawl, trap, or line, the fish range in size from 1 to over 50 pounds. Notes collected by a Service biologist during a trip on a fishing trawler in January 1943, show that anglerfish composed about 5 percent of the species usually marketed and about 15 percent of the estimated total of edible waste fish, The average weight from a total of 17 specimens weighed at sea was 18 pounds with a range of 62 to 28 pounds. Some specimens were observed that were close to 50 pounds. From a total round weight of 308.5 pounds, 95.8 pounds of dressed anglerfish was produced, a recovery of 31 percent.
The tail portion of the anglerfish, known commonly to New England fishermen as the "Monk tail," needs further processing before marketing. Experimental packs in which drastic trimming operations were employed, gave a recovery from the tail portion of 51 percent in the form of steaks and fillets, and when dressed for smoking in one piece, about 70 percent. From the entire fish, these represent recovery of about 16 and 22 percent, respectively.
The following are the methods employed experimentally for processing this species: I. Fresh or frozen anglerfish.
Steaks--The steaks, about " thick, are cut at right angles to the long axis of the anglerfish tail. The single bone running throughout the length of the tail is soft and the appearance is improved when this center ring of bone is included in the slice, This style of preparation lends itself to a neat and attractive package. In addition, it eliminates objectionable long fibers which appear in fillets. If steaks are to be cut, it is possible to freeze the entire portion and then use mechanical saws or cutters for slicing.
Fillets or chunks--The anglerfish is difficult to fillet neatly due to the shape of the tail, When dressed for fillets, the flesh is cut away from the long soft bone running throughout the length of the tail, leaving two fillets, thick at the forward end and thin at the tail end. Each of the se can be divided lengthwise, producing four long fillets from each tail. These can be cut into portions best suited for the packaging me thods selected
II. Smoked anglerfish.
Smoked as a whole or in the form of a "fish ham"--For this purpose, it is desirable to use tails of mediun size--3 to 7 pounds. Then used in this process, the "hans" are first brined for one hour or dry salted for a half a day. They are then cured by me thods similar to those used for "Scotch haddies" (smoked and cooked in one operation). The product is ready to eat when smoking is completed, although it is still desirable to handle it with the same care taken in handling fresh fish. This smoked ham
This smoked ham has excellent eating qualities and has been highly spoken of by members of the trade and others who have tried it at public demonstrations. This method of preparing anglerfish seems to hold the most promise, with the chief objection being the perishability of a "Scotch haddie" product. It is possible that this objection can be overcome by quick freezing the "smoked ham" and employing modern packaging methods. Smoked fillets--To produce smoked fillets, the usual smoking procedures have been followed, employing the type of cure used for finnan haddies or smoking without cooking. This product will keep for some time in ordinary coolers and has been found satisfactory when cooking methods are used similar to those employed for other smoked fillets.
Range, Seasonal Occurrence, and Abundance--The anglerfish occurs commonly from Newfoundland to at least as far south as Delaware Bay, and it has been reported as far south as Barbados, In New England waters, it appears to leave shoal shore waters for deeper water during the winter months. During the warmer months of the year, it is common enough to be a nuisance to shore fishermen. Trap operators as far south as Delaware Bay have to cull out
Receipts of Fresh and Frozen Fishery Products--Salt-water Market, New York City
Pounds Percent Percent Pounds Pounds Fish
11,531,000 + 4
11,076,000 9,502,000 Shellfish, etc.
5,737,000 + 1
5,667,000 4,675,000 Total receipts
17,268,000 + 3
+ 22 16,743,000 14,177,000 Important Items: Cod
915,000 1,373,000 Flounders: Blackbacks
485,000 + 31
370,000 271,000 Yellowtails
2,995,000 2,885,000 Haddock
119,000 41 - 73
203,000 433,000 Ocean pout
456,000 - 41
777,000 76,000 Sea bass
200,000 153,000 Scup (porgy)
542,000 43 + 78
951,000 305,000 Spanish mackerel
631,000 199,000 Whiting
474,000 + 96 . 20
242,000 590,000 Clans, hard
2,195,000 + 13
1,937,000 1,687,000 Lobsters
437,000 246,000 Shrimp
1,048,000 1,177,000 Truck, freight, and express
15,695,000 13,000,000 *Excluding imports entered at New York City.
FEBRUARY RECEIPTS AT CHICAGO GAIN 3 PERCENT OVER JANUARY
Receipts of fresh and frozen fishery products in Chicago during February were 3 percent over January, but were 4 percent less than February 1943, according to the Service's Fishery Market News office in Chicago. Although considerable quantities of Canadian winter-caught fish were received, fresh fish, in general, showed substantial declines. Truck shipments decreased 4 percent from January, while rail freight showed an increase of 30 percent. Rail express shipments declined 21 percent from January, but compared to February 1943, showed a substantial gain of 22 percent.
12 months Jan. -Dec,
1943 Pounds 42,508,000 29,820,000 11,706,000 84,034,000
Receipts of Fresh and Frozen Fishery Products at Chicago
2 mos. 1944
Jan-Feb. compared with
2 mos, 1943
Pounis Per cent Percent Pounds Percent
7,139,000 + 15
42 1,212,000 . 20
4 11,899,000 + 4
600,000 + 62 Lake trout
758,000 + 20
+ 12 1,184,000 + 19 Yellow pike
833,000 - 50
545,000 + 13 Oysters
17 1,253,000 + 19
2,754,000 + ll
+ 2 7,026,000 + 12
10 4,873,000 - 5
22 2,586,000 9
+ 22 3,938,000
- 6 5.375,000 4
4,419,000 4,100,000 7,002,000 2,529,000 4,671,000 3,733,000 2,627,000 11,436,000 2,505,000 1,293,000 8,793,000
9,257,000 8,913,000 8, 260,000 57,066,000 26,968,000
18,898,000 35,355,000 29,781,000