Gefilte Fish Shortage Affects Passover Meal Planning

Posted on April 16, 2014

There is a gefilte fish shortage this Passover that has many families quite unhappy. Even if they don't particularly like the classic Passover dish, many families can't contemplate not having any gefilte fish. So what's the problem this year? According to The New York Times it was the Polar Vortex that caused the shortage. There is still ice in all the Great Lakes and whitefish is in short supply. That is causing distributors to scramble for product. Fishmongers all over the country are bemoaning the lack of whitefish this year. Maneschevitz has plenty, if you don't mind fish in a jar. The company says it locks in its supply the year before to avoid shortage problems.

The L.A. Times notes that 90% of the Great Lakes froze over this winter. Even though the ice is melting, the giant chunks of ice floating around are a hazard to fishing boats and the $150,000 fishing nets they use. The Times spoke with Kevin Crespel, a manager at distributor Universal Seafood who usually gets 300 pounds of whitefish a week. He was getting one case per week for a while, but now he can't get any shipments at all due to the shortage. He has suggested that customer substitute white sea bass for whitefish, because whitefish is simply not going to be available.

Some cooks are using snapper or grouper instead. Tilapia and catfish are mild white fishes, but they generally are not Kosher. Portland chef Jenn Louis shared her recipe for gefilte fish with NPR here. She makes hers with salmon and halibut.

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