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Tuna revives Pacific fishing

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. (AP) — Pacific bluefin tuna leave Japan’s coast and swim east at breakneck speed to school in North American coastal waters. They return on nonstop flights from Los Angeles as slabs of fresh toro, the “foie gras of the sea,” fattened, refrigerated and ready for the sashimi knives. The transformation happens in underwater pens that are 150 feet wide and 45 feet deep, where wild-caught bluefin are fattened on fresh sardines to develop the buttery texture prized in Japan. Bluefin “ranches,” which offer a reliable source of toro sushi that is higher in oil than lean fish straight off the boat, have popped up in waters from Spain to Australia. In the last decade, Mexico’s Baja California and Southern California emerged as a chief source for the lucrative Japanese market. “It’s basically an underwater feed lot,” said Philippe Charat, who runs a Mexican bluefin operation from his home in chichi Rancho Santa Fe, north of San Diego. “We take something that has very little value when it’s in a can and turn it into a very high-quality product.” Bluefin, or toro, is richer than the yellowfin, or ahi, tuna typically scarfed in American sushi bars. Top-grade cultivated bluefin regularly wholesales for more than $10 a pound at Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji fish market. One wild specimen once fetched $395 a pound. Pacific bluefin spawn in Japan’s warm coastal waters and journey east a few years later, arriving off Big Sur and running 1,500 miles south to the tip of Baja California. The fish are caught several hundred miles offshore and then towed to pens that dot the sapphire bays around the Coronado Islands in Mexican waters near San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico, 70 miles south of the border. The pens are tended by crews who guard against poachers, sharks and sea lions. Months later, the bluefin are harvested. Divers wrestle the flailing silver-blue tuna onto the tarp-covered deck of an outfitted boat. They are rapidly brained, gutted and bled before being suspended in near-freezing saline water to prevent “burn,” or the buildup of stress-triggered lactic acid that can ruin the fish’s firm, translucent flesh. Wholesale buyers in Japan, who get the bluefin as little as 72 hours after it’s pulled from the sea, call the Mexican shipments “laxfish” after the initials “LAX” stamped on the manifests from Los Angeles International Airport. “The Mexican fish has a very good reputation in Japan,” said James Joseph, a tuna fisheries consultant and former head of the San Diego-based Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, an international body that regulates tuna fishing in the eastern Pacific. “The water is cool, and they’re feeding them fresh sardines all the time, which gives the fish a sweet taste.” The key to Mexico’s success lies in the abundant supply of sardines, which has long lured a variety of tuna species to the Pacific coastline, from the relatively rare dark-meat bluefin to the more common white-meat albacore and yellowfin that end up in tins. San Diego and Baja California became hubs for tuna fishing and canning in the early 1900s, when white-fleshed tuna was marketed as an alternative to chicken. Rising labor costs and the development of tuna-industry dolphin-safe standards in the 1980s decimated the region’s commercial fleet, sending boats to the far western Pacific waters of American Samoa and Guam. Enter Charat, 67, a French-born Mexican citizen who left a shrimping business on Mexico’s Gulf Coast and began fishing tuna out of Ensenada in 1983. Unlike the more common yellowfin species, bluefin don’t run with dolphins, exempting them from catch restrictions. In 1997, after a tour of Australian ranches, Charat went into the bluefin business in the San Diego area, facing a lone competitor who soon bailed out. In its first year, Charat’s privately held, Ensenada-based company, Maricultura del Norte, netted 30 tons of bluefin. The following season, they took in 60 tons. This winter, Maricultura fattened more than 1,500 tons of fish in two dozen pens anchored in a hidden cove tucked around a point of land south of Ensenada harbor. The ranches are a lifeblood for the $350-million-a-year bluefin market in Japan, generating waterfront jobs in Ensenada and San Diego. Charat thinks growing worldwide demand for bluefin can help San Diego and northern Baja California regain luster as a tuna capital. Bluefin stocks in the Atlantic have fallen 80 percent in the past 30 years, prompting the chief European Union fisheries official earlier this year to press for cuts in worldwide catch quotas. Australian authorities imposed new limits on bluefin catches last October amid concern about dwindling supplies. A handful of Japanese-owned operators have followed Charat into Ensenada, anchoring pens just north of the harbor. Baja Aqua Farms, which is managed by Australians, keeps pens off the Coronado Islands and brings harvested tuna by boat to a packing facility in San Diego, avoiding long waits at truck crossings on the U.S.-Mexico border. “They said it could not be done in Mexico because the water was too cold, the area of the fish migration too big,” said Charat. “Now it’s by far the most active thing going on in the region as far as fishing goes.”last_img read more

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Top of truck hits bridge

first_imgSANTA FE SPRINGS – Traffic ground to a crawl on a busy stretch of local freeway Wednesday after a flatbed truck carrying a high-pressure chamber slammed into an overpass and got stuck. Officials issued a SigAlert and shut down three lanes of the northbound Santa Ana (5) Freeway for nearly 6 1/2 hours. Officials also closed the Valley View Avenue onramps and offramps. Freeway lanes remained closed at 4:30 p.m. “Horrible – it’s just a parking lot,” California Highway Patrol Officer Patrick Kimball said after viewing the scene via a freeway camera. The incident began at 12:20 p.m., when the truck hit the Alondra Boulevard overpass, knocking off pieces of concrete from the sides of the bridge. The truck driver, who wasn’t injured, was cited for not obeying a permit. Drivers need a permit to carry oversized loads. The permits also contain the route drivers need to take, according to CHP Sgt. Sid Belk. He said the truck was hauling an autoclave chamber, which is used for compressing gases. “For unknown reasons, he thought that was the route he was going to take,” Belk said. “He was not on a permitted route. … He probably traveled 500 feet before he hit the bridge.” The trucker’s load measured 16 feet tall, while the bridge is about 15.5 feet tall, he added. To free the truck, Belk said, officials removed air from its tires, unloaded the autoclave chamber and pulled the vehicle out. Caltrans officials were at the scene inspecting the overpass. ruby.gonzales@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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West Ham hoping to win the race for Atletico Madrid defender

first_img1 Toby Alderweireld West Ham are hoping to win the race to clinch the loan signing of Atletico Madrid defender Toby Alderweireld to ease their defensive worries.The Belgium international has also been linked with Arsenal and Tottenham but, with the Hammers facing a crisis at the back ahead of the London derby against Crystal Palace, they could look to push through a quick deal before the weekend.Alderweireld, 25, only joined the La Liga champions last summer but he failed to secure a regular first-team place last season.Allardyce is desperate to bring in another central defender as James Collins is suspended while James Tomkins is facing a race against time to overcome a hamstring injury before the weekend.The Hammers boss has already made seven signings this summer but he knows he would pull off a major coup if he does manage to beat Arsenal and Tottenham to secure the services of Alderweireld in the next 24 hours.last_img read more

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‘One of saddest days of my life’- Lopetegui on Spain sack

first_imgSpain players reportedly resisted his sacking, which came as Spain are due to face European champions Portugal in Sochi on Friday before taking on Iran and Morocco in Group B at the World Cup.Lopetegui said he wished federation chief Luis Rubiales “had handled things in another way” as he was officially unveiled as Real’s new coach at the club’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.“Yesterday was the saddest day of my life since the death of my mother. But today is the happiest day of my life,” Lopetegui said as he fought back tears.“We are convinced that we acted in an absolutely honest and clear way.”Rubiales said the federation was informed of Lopetegui’s move just “five minutes” before Real released its press statement announcing his arrival.– ‘Misplaced pride’ –But Real Madrid president Florentino Perez called the Spanish football federation’s reaction to the club’s signing of Lopetegui “disproportionate, unfair and without precedent in the world of football in similar cases”.Perez also lashed out at what he called “an absurd reaction of misplaced pride” on the part of Rubiales, and said the club had issued the press statement as an “act of transparence” and to avoid the news from leaking out.The federation named Fernando Hierro, 50, as an emergency replacement at the World Cup despite having only one season’s managerial experience in the Spanish second division with Real Oviedo.He was popular among the players as the federation’s sporting director between 2007 and 2011, and returned to that role in November of last year.There were fears Lopetegui’s appointment by the European champions could open up old divisions between the Real Madrid and Barcelona factions in the Spain World Cup squad.– ‘Delicate moment’ –But Spain captain Sergio Ramos said there were no divisions following the decision to let go of Lopetegui, under whom the 2010 World Cup winners had been unbeaten in two years.“There are no cracks. We are all individuals and we all think differently, but the collective idea is the same — we are here to go for the World Cup,” said Ramos, who will play under Lopetegui at club level next season.“For me, personally, it was a more delicate moment but I can assure you that these problems provide an opportunity to grow.”Ramos also urged Spain to put the drama of the past 48 hours behind them as they look to focus on their World Cup opener against Portugal in Sochi on Friday.“You could not start a World Cup in a worse way,” wrote sports daily Marca.Top-selling daily newspaper El Pais called Lopetegui’s dismissal “the biggest absurdity in the history of Spanish football” in an article accompanied with a photo of the sacked coach, wearing sunglasses, as he left Russia.“Vaudeville at the World Cup,” wrote rival daily El Mundo, adding Wednesday was “the darkest day in the history of the Spanish national team”.Hierro, himself a former Real captain, said the national team did not have time to “feel sorry” for itself.“The objective is to fight for a World Cup. The players have been working towards this for two years. I’ve told the players that we have a wonderful, exciting challenge and we can’t let this be an excuse to distract us from our dream,” he added.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Tearful: Real Madrid´s newly-appointed coach Julen Lopetegui © AFP / OSCAR DEL POZOMADRID, Spain, Jun 14 – Julen Lopetegui said Thursday that being sacked as Spain coach was the “saddest day” of his life since the death of his mother and defended his move to Real Madrid, saying it was done in an “absolutely honest way”.Spain’s World Cup preparations were thrown into turmoil on Wednesday as the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) sacked Lopetegui after Real Madrid confirmed he would take over at the Bernabeu for the next three seasons.last_img read more

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‘He’s a great character’ – Allardyce insists he has no problem with ‘soft German’ Klopp

first_img1 Sam Allardyce Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce insists he has no issue with Jurgen Klopp, hailing his Liverpool counterpart a ‘great character’.The pair exchanged angry words on the touchline during their teams’ previous Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light on December 30.Klopp was fuming that a challenge from Jeremain Lens on Mamadou Sakho had not resulted in a red card, prompting Allardyce to brand his managerial rival a ‘soft German’.However, Allardyce is adamant he meant no offence and is looking forward to meeting Klopp again when he takes Sunderland to Anfield on Saturday.The Black Cats chief said: “It was more about maybe German football is softer than ours when he said Jeremain Lens should have been sent off.”Allardyce also appeared to criticise Klopp in an exclusive interview on talkSPORT over Liverpool’s injury problems.But he insists his comments were misconstrued.The 61-year-old said: “I made a bit of a comment – which I perhaps shouldn’t have done – which wasn’t directed at him, really.“You journalists make a big fuss out of what was an honest answer on talkSPORT. (Host) Alan Brazil has apologised to me. When he saw the headlines, he thought they were more ridiculous than me.“I have no problem. It’s great to see him here, he’s a great character. Obviously on Saturday, I can’t wish him well, but after that, I do.”Sunderland’s need is ever more pressing with Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester City on Wearside meaning they remain four points adrift of safety with just 14 games remaining, the next three of them trips to Anfield and West Ham either side of Manchester United’s visit to the north-east.Allardyce was buoyed by an encouraging display against Manuel Pellegrini’s title-chasers, in which January signings Lamine Kone, Jan Kirchhoff and Wahbi Khazri all impressed, but is under no illusions as to the task ahead with the current bottom five – Aston Villa, Sunderland, Newcastle, Norwich and Swansea – in danger of being cast adrift.He said: “There’s a concern, there’s a huge concern. We are in a huge battle to overcome the points difference with the games running out.“Like I’ve said, we are drawing closer to the stage where a draw is no longer required, it’s a victory, and that’s where I didn’t want to be. That’s why I have gone into the market for as many players as I possibly could, because the players previously haven’t quite hit those consistent levels.“They have been very, very close on so many occasions and then just slipped up – Watford here, Southampton here, Liverpool here, West Brom away – just that odd goal that we lost by.“If we had drawn all those four or five games, we’d be on 24 points, out of the bottom three, we’d have as many games as points, and 38 points from 38 games over the last 10 years has equated to a safe position.“That’s why I have gone into the market and hopefully spent our money very wisely.”last_img read more

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