Sea to Table was invited by our Seafood Watch partners to participate in a roundtable last week at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, along with many of the nation’s largest foodservice companies, to create common solutions concerning sustainable seafood. It is a very good sign when fierce competitors realize a common interest in protecting the world’s healthiest protein.
One topic addressed was antibiotics in aquaculture. Its ubiquity is scary, with the real threat of super-bugs evolving throughout the developing world. The aquaculture industry seems to have done a great job at convincing the NGO community that with declining wild fish populations around the globe, fish farming is necessary to create protein for growing populations. Recent developments in plant-based proteins and massive bio-engineering advances leave some unsure that industrial fish farms are the best path to addressing world hunger. Aquaculture is based on the same paradigm as industrial meat production, with many of the same intractable problems.
Recent research reports that if the world’s eight largest fishing nations were to institute serious science-based fisheries management, as we have in the US, more than 80% of the world’s fisheries would rebuild within five years. Further, scientists report that with proper management the maximum sustainable yield of wild fish would increase in volume globally by a power of ten within fifty years. In spite of measurable improvements in fish farming, it remains clear that, if protected, Mother Nature is smarter than man at manufacturing fish.
Another major topic discussed was the dual scourge of IUU fishing and seafood slavery. It was heartening that the major US foodservice companies recognize the severity of these issues, and that their massive purchasing power can exert real influence on vast international supply chains. The consensus at the meeting was that traceability held the key to righting these wrongs. By simply sourcing wild domestic seafood, chefs can know they are not part of this problem. Don’t buy fish from strangers.
All the best,
from the Dimin Family and the Sea to Table team