Whitefish is a key ingredient in gefilte fish, a traditional Jewish dish that originated in eastern Europe. Recipes vary, but it often consists of ground fish, vegetables such as onion and carrots, and bread crumbs formed into loaves or balls.
The shortfall results partly from the bitterly cold winter that caused vast sections of the Great Lakes to freeze over, keeping some commercial fishing crews stuck in port. A drop in the whitefish population is also to blame.
Markets were struggling to fill orders before the eight-day celebration began Monday evening.
Kevin Dean of Superior Fish Co. near Detroit said Monday his latest shipment amounted to just 75 pounds. He had ordered 500 pounds.
“Everybody’s pulling their hair out,” Dean said. ““I’ve never seen it this bad this time of year”