By Steven Hedlund
Published on Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Editor’s note: Over the last two weeks of December, SeafoodSource is running a series of articles summing up the year’s news. The series kicked off on Monday with 2011’s five most-read commentaries and continued on Tuesday with 2011’s five most-read Q&As.
The SeafoodSource and SeaFood Business editorial teams interviewed a boatload of seafood professionals worldwide this year. Here’s a rundown of 10 of the more memorable quotes of 2011.
“This is a great problem. We have to change the culture and the mindset of fishermen, ministers, everybody.” — Maria Damanaki, Europe’s Fisheries Commissioner
In an exclusive on-camera interview with SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Lindsey Partos at May’s European Seafood Exposition, European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki talked candidly about the challenge of finding common ground among stakeholders without weakening the effectiveness of a reformed Common Fisheries Policy. It’s still, of course, a work in progress, as evidenced at this weekend’s EU Fisheries Council meeting in Brussels.
“Our hearts and minds are with the people of Japan.” — Gail Shea, Canada’s Fisheries Minister
The March earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan struck a cord with the closely knit seafood community, given the country’s love of fish and importance to the global seafood trade. At the International Boston Seafood Show, which opened just over a week after the tragedy, attendees were empathetic and quick to lend a hand, including former Canadian Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, who talked to SeafoodSource Editor Steven Hedlund in an on-camera interview.
“The potential of the domestic market is much larger than the overseas market.” — Cui He, secretary general of the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Association
There’s no denying China’s growing influence on the global seafood trade, in terms of production and consumption. But it’s consumption and China’s expanding middle class and burgeoning seafood market that’s receiving so much attention. In interview with SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Mark Godfrey at November’s China Fisheries & Seafood Expo, Cui He of the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Association summed up why Chinese seafood exporters are looking homeward to grow sales.
“People called me a criminal. A priest where I went to school at Yale wrote to me, ‘You realize that when you graduated from Yale you agreed to adhere to a code of ethics?’ That was a doozy.” — Ming Tsai, chef/owner of Blue Ginger
An October Boston Globe exposé put seafood fraud, particularly the bait-and-switch form of fraud known as species substitution, in the limelight. The exposé called out Ming Tsai, chef/owner of Blue Ginger, for menuing Alaska sablefish as “butterfish,” and it marred the celebrity chef’s reputation. Was it unfair? Yes, Tsai explained to SeaFood Business Associate Editor James Wright.
“Fully exploited is where we want to be.” — Ray Hilborn, University of Washington fisheries scientist
Environmentalists likely cringed when they read this quote. At an October conference at Fishmongers’ Hall in London, University of Washington fisheries scientist Ray Hilborn delivered an upbeat talk, a much-welcomed departure from the usual portrayals of doom and gloom. In his address, captured by SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Mike Urch, Hilborn debunked a number of misnomers about the future of global fisheries.
“We need to focus on bringing new and exciting species and innovations to our customers to encourage them to try alternative species that are in plentiful supply, taking the pressure off some of the more vulnerable wild species.” — Richard Luney, wild fish and aquaculture manager for Marks & Spencer
There was certainly no shortage of talk about the need to market “alternative” seafood species in the United Kingdom, as evidenced by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s popular Fish Fight campaign. But actions speak louder than words. And, on a refreshing note, many UK retailers, including Marks & Spencer, accepted the challenge by pushing its cod- and haddock-loving customers to try something new and be more sustainably minded. Did it work? SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Jason Holland got the lowdown from Marks & Spencer’s Richard Luney.
“[Farming] predators like salmon? It’s the equivalent of farming grizzly bears and mountain lions on land. I see people eating a lot more herbivores.” — Michael Sutton, director of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Center for the Future of the Oceans
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Michael Sutton didn’t mince words when he talked about the environmental impact of salmon farming in an interview with SeaFood Business’ Wright. The magazine’s September issue looked at the potential of finfish aquaculture in U.S. waters.
“People assume that fishermen go out, fish and make a ton of money. Then when you hear what they’re up against, you have to appreciate how a piece of fish gets on the plate.” — Roger Berkowitz, president and CEO of Legal Sea Foods
Boston restaurateur Roger Berkowitz boiled environmentalists’ blood in January when Legal Sea Foods and the New England Culinary Guild hosted a four-course dinner featuring “black-listed” seafood. The purpose of the event was to ignite a dialog on seafood sustainability among a mix of stakeholders, including fishermen, marine scientists, chefs and food writers. And it did just that, Berkowitz explained in an interview with SeafoodSource’s Hedlund.
“You’re always going to have a few weak sisters. It’s very disappointing that somebody like McCormick & Schmick’s is still running negative 4 to 5 percent comps when everybody else is positive.” — Tilman Fertitta, chairman, president and CEO of Landry’s Restaurants
Restaurant tycoon and Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta is persistent, to say the least. Fertitta’s months-long campaign to acquire McCormick & Schmick’s became a reality in November when the Portland, Ore., company’s board finally accepted a buyout offer for the struggling seafood chain. After reading Wright’s profile on Fertitta and Landry’s Restaurants in the January issue of SeaFood Business, you figured it was coming. And Fertitta certainly isn’t finished building his restaurant empire. Just last week, he purchased Morton’s steakhouse chain.
“Hi, my name is Edward May, and I’m calling from San Diego. Yes, I am reading from a piece of paper.” — Edward May, Greenpeace volunteer
Greenpeace set its sights on tuna this year, targeting many of the world’s leading canned tuna brands in an attempt to halt the practice of catching tuna in a purse seine using fish aggregating devices. To do so, the environmental activist organization resorted to its usual tactics. Some call it aggressive campaigning, others, like the National Fisheries Institute, call it bullying. To prove its point, NFI obtained a recording of phone call in which a Greenpeace volunteer willingly admitted he was reading from a script.