PETA demands end to Aquarium of Pacific program
By April Forristall, SeafoodSource assistant editor
07 October, 2009
PETA is calling on Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., to end its Seafood for the Future program.
In a letter to the aquarium on Tuesday, the animal rights organization claims the program’s partnership with local seafood restaurants contradicts its mission to foster respect for the ocean’s inhabitants and that the best way to safeguard sea life is to adopt a vegetarian diet.
The aquarium’s program encourages consumers to eat specific kinds of fish at local Southland restaurants in order to qualify for a free ticket to the aquarium.
"Encouraging aquarium visitors to eat fish is like serving poodle burgers at a dog show," said Tracy Reiman, PETA VP.
However, according to Jerry Schubel, president and CEO of the aquarium, “most of [the letter] was wrong.”
PETA neglects to point out that the free ticket is given for making a “green” choice. According to the aquarium, the program was started to help take the guesswork out of selecting sustainable seafood. Restaurants participating in the program display the aquarium’s logo on menus to help patrons identify sustainable choices.
“Our mission is one of conservation and it is conservation through education and promoting good stewardship. In terms of seafood, we see it as helping people make the right choices so they can continue to enjoy seafood and avoid choices where the stocks are over-harvested or harvested in ways that are not environmentally friendly or responsible,” Schubel told SeafoodSource on Wednesday.
“The [Seafood for the Future] program is a new program launched in January of this year. It’s supported by the Pacific life foundation and we take the best information that we can find from all sources, starting with NOAA’s FishWatch program. We also use fisheries data from the states and reach out and take other data and information and we then use that to identify the best choices that we will recommend,” Schubel added.
Schubel was disappointed but not necessarily surprised when he received PETA’s letter, and said the aquarium will use this as an opportunity to set the record straight and clarify why seafood is an important protein to include in a consumer’s diet.
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07 October, 2009