Celebrity chefs, NGOs form Coalition for Sustainable Aquaculture
A group of celebrity chefs including Andrew Zimmern have launched a new coalition with NGOs and business leaders to promote the sustainable growth of offshore aquaculture in the United States.
The new Coalition for Sustainable Aquaculture (CSA) is dedicated to charting a responsible path forward for ocean farming in U.S. offshore waters, the organization said in a press release.
In addition to more than 20 top chefs from around the country, 10 founding member organizations include Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Minorities in Aquaculture, The Marine Mammal Center, Seafood and Gender Equality (SAGE), Lowcountry Oyster Co., Blue Dot Sea Farms, AquaSpark, Monterey Bay Seaweeds, Neptune Sustainable Ocean Snacks, and Postelsia.
“Americans want more sustainable seafood on their plates. That means that one of our primary solutions is to grow it here and do it right,” Chef and Founding CSA Member Andrew Zimmern said. “I know firsthand that when it comes to aquaculture, consumers increasingly want to know that the fish on their plate is grown sustainably and with rigorous standards, and we’re coming together to forge a movement to make it possible.”
As the demand for seafood grows globally, the market in the U.S. for sustainable, local seafood is higher than ever, CSA said. However, the U.S. imports more than 85 percent of its seafood, and half of that is farmed.
Some overseas aquaculture operations “lack the rigorous environmental and safety standards we have in the U.S, leading to the exporting of our environmental and ethical footprints,” CSA said.
“The U.S. has the opportunity to lead again, showing the world how to build a science-backed aquaculture industry founded in sustainable, equitable practices that creates jobs and contributes to food security alongside well-managed traditional fisheries,” it said.
CSA will advocate for a “strong regulatory framework to ensure offshore aquaculture is safe, sustainable, equitable and science-based,” the organization said.
It will also work toward “new opportunities for historically disadvantaged and excluded communities to access and benefit from the new industry,” along with government studies and on-the-water pilot programs to address knowledge gaps and determine best practices.
“By committing to responsible, homegrown aquaculture that includes offshore farming, we can build a sustainable supply chain for everyone, all while growing equitable and inclusive jobs,” Founding CSA member and CEO and Founder of Minorities in Aquaculture Imani Black said. “That means more Americans can have sustainably sourced, nutritious seafood in their local grocery stores, restaurants, farmers markets, and in their homes.”
Photo courtesy of Andrew Zimmern