Editor’s picks: No escaping sustainability


Steven Hedlund

Published on
December 2, 2009

Here’s a taste of this week’s must-see SeafoodSource news stories and commentaries:

• SeafoodSource kicked off the week with the controversy brewing over potential Marine Stewardship Council certification of the Ross Sea longline toothfish fishery. Last month, Moody Marine, which is accessing the fishery, recommended that it be certified. Then last Friday, a coalition of scientists and environmentalists ripped into the MSC and Moody Marine — one environmentalist called Moody Marine’s assessment “shocking.” The MSC shot back that the fishery hasn’t been certified yet and that it is now subject to a 15-day working period whereby objections to the recommendation are considered. Stay tuned; this skirmish is far from over.

• When it comes to bluefin tuna, some of France’s top chefs are saying, “Non, merci.” On Tuesday, SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Lindsey Partos detailed Relais et Châteaux’s pledge to source only sustainable seafood. Headlining the commitment is a ban on menuing bluefin tuna at its 475-unit hotel and restaurant network. The chef-driven push to protect bluefin tuna from overfishing was also the subject of a widely published Agence France-Presse story that ran in the SeafoodSource news feed. Chefs Olivier Roellinger, Gael Orieux and Gerald Passedat were among the chefs quoted in the piece.

• What’s hot? Local, sustainable fish, according to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot survey, released on Wednesday. Of the 214 food and beverage items and preparation methods 1,854 chefs scored, only “locally grown produce” edged out “locally sourced meat and seafood” as this year’s hottest culinary trend. “Sustainable seafood” ranked No. 10, followed by “non-traditional fish” at No. 18.

• This week’s commentary also dabbled in sustainability, specifically just how complex the concept is to grasp. It’s so intricate that seafood suppliers, retailers and foodservice operators are creating a position, often called a chief sustainability officer, to manage their ecological footprint. The National Fisheries Institute on Tuesday revealed that it, too, has established a position to juggle sustainability matters. I asked seafood industry veteran Ron Rogness about his new role for my commentary, “Sustainability a full-time job.”

• If you can’t get enough of the sustainability debate, don’t miss this week’s two Q&As. SeaFood Business Associate Editor James Wright quizzed Greenpeace campaigner Casson Trenor about his passion for sustainable sushi and his work with San Francisco restaurant Tataki Sushi, while SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Christine Blank spoke with 606 Congress chef Greg Griffie about taking the Boston eatery’s seafood offerings to the next level.

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