Fish shortage causing problems for Lent and Passover celebrations

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 04/16 2014 02:56PM

Updated 04/16 2014 05:53PM

TWO RIVERS, Wis. (WFRV) - Though the calendar says April 16th, our wicked winter is still having an impact on our food supply.

Susie Q's Fish Company in Two Rivers has specialized in fresh local fish, for four generations.

But this year , fresh has been hard to come by.

"We are the only players in the game right now" explains Michael LeClair, The President of Susie Q Fish Company.

His crew finally brought in the first catch of whitefish this year.

This winter more than 90 percent of the great lakes surface froze, keeping commercial crews in port.

"We could not do anything, because the cables will not pull through the ice and lift the net off the bottom" Michael explains.

"The weather is just horrible. Up north they catch a lot more whitefish then we do down here. They are still fighting with ice up there and looking at a couple more weeks and we got a few nets in last week, so we got a few weeks on them" says Paul LeClair, The Vice President of Susie Q Fish Company.

The shortage has left markets lean during Lent and it is also a problem for people celebrating Passover.

Whitefish is a key component in a popular Jewish dish.

"Everybody wants them but there is not enough to go around" says the older LeClair brother Michael.

The price hit a record high.

"Everyone's freezers were pretty empty. We just made it to the end ourselves" Paul says.

Fresh perch is also in short supply due to the bitter cold temperatures.

Susie Q's finally got a shipment today.

"It is a pretty good relief the fresh stuff is much nicer than the stuff out of the freezer" Paul explains.

According to Michael " With mother nature you are not going stop it or change it so you just learn to live with it, especially in this business".

If you're looking forward to smoked salmon on the Easter buffet,  you should not have to worry.

Susie Q's was busy smoking hundreds of fish today.

Salmon are typically shipped in from other parts of the country.


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