Brooklyn, NY – Frozen Lakes Cause Massive Pre-Pesach Whitefish Shortage


    An Orthodox Jewish man at Freunds Fish Store in Borough Park section of Brooklyn, NY on April 13, 2014. (Rafael Lopez/, NY – Just 24 hours before the onset of Pesach, kosher consumers everywhere are scrambling to find whitefish alternative after an exceptionally cold winter has created a massive whitefish shortage.

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    “To call it a shortage would be an understatement,” Shlomo Raskin of Raskin’s Fish in Crown Heights told VIN News.

    Much of the whitefish that is used locally comes from the Michigan area, but this winter’s exceptionally cold winter have created enormous problems for fishermen.

    “The Great Lakes have been frozen for months,” explained Raskin. “This has been a historical event, both for us and for consumers.”

    While the frozen loaves of gefilte fish that are a favorite among many are produced months in advance of Pesach, those who prefer to make their own are finding that they need to tweak their recipes to make use of the fish that is available.

    “Mullet, certain carps and pike can all be used in gefilte fish,” said Raskin.

    At Brach’s in Lawrence, which has been out of whitefish for two weeks, customers are being advised to use brook trout as a whitefish substitute in their gefilte fish.

    While Raskin’s Crown Heights location does have some whitefish in stock, the supply is so limited that they are rationing the fish, although they are hoping to replenish their stock tomorrow morning. Their sister location at the Lawrence Season’s store has whitefish in stock without any limits, as long as their supply lasts and the Kew Gardens Hills Seasons store also has whitefish available.
    Mr. Freund of Freunds fish at his store in Borough Park section of Brooklyn, NY On April 13 2014. (Rafael Lopez/
    Elsewhere around the greater New York area, whitefish seekers are coming home empty handed. Frustrated fishmongers at A&B Fish in Monsey, The Market Fish Shop in Lakewood and Freund’s in Borough Park are all reporting that there is no fresh whitefish available for Pesach. A spokesperson at Tauber’s Fish in Williamsburg said that they did have a small quantity of whitefish on Thursday but is currently out of stock and they will not be receiving any more whitefish before Pesach.

    According to The Chicago Tribune, the whitefish shortage has been going on since January, but the situation became much more pronounced this past week as the demand for whitefish has skyrocketed in the days before Pesach. One Chicago kosher supermarket reported that over the past three weeks, they received only 10 to 30 pounds of whitefish instead of their usual 200 to 300 pounds.

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