In brief: Shrimp standards closer to completion

The World Wildlife Fund-organized Shrimp Dialogue kicked off its last public comment period on Wednesday. Feedback received during the 60-day period will be used by the dialogue’s global steering committee to finalize its global farmed-shrimp standards in the first half of 2011.

“It is very important that the entire shrimp industry, including retailers, farmers and scientists, continue to be involved with the development of the standards for responsible shrimp aquaculture so that they can be the most credible ones in the marketplace, and I strongly encourage all industry players to submit their comments,” said committee member Dominique Gautier.

Santa Monica touts sustainability guide

California’s Santa Monica Seafood on Tuesday posted a responsible seafood-sourcing guide to its website. The guide details the wholesaler’s approach to purchasing seafood responsibly and takes a behind-the-scenes look at how the company sources its fish. Designed as a resource for consumers, the guide also helps assist the company’s wholesale customers in improving their own purchasing practices.

“With a vast amount of constantly changing seafood sustainability information that’s available, we felt our customers deserved a detailed look at how we make sourcing decisions. We also want to give them information they can use to guided their own purchasing decisions,” said Santa Monica VP Michael Cigliano. “We are dedicated to our commitment to responsible sourcing, and we want to share that with our customers.”

Bluefin tuna boycott launched

Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity on Tuesday called on consumers and chefs to boycott bluefin tuna on the heels of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna’s modest reduction in the species’ 2011 total allowable catch in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Nobu in New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Sushitaro in Washington, D.C., and Kabuto Sushi in San Francisco have already joined the boycott, which also urges consumers to sign a pledge to avoid eating bluefin and shun restaurants that serve it.

“If regulators won’t protect these magnificent fish, it’s up to consumers and restaurants to eliminate the market demand, and that means refusing to eat, buy or serve this species,” said Catherine Kilduff, the organization’s staff attorney. “The desperate plight of bluefin tuna has been well-known for years and, while some restaurants have rightly removed it from their menus, other continue to serve it. That has to stop if we’re going to keep this fish from slipping into oblivion.”

U.S. restaurant performance hits three-year high

The National Restaurant Association on Tuesday announced that its Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) jumped to its highest level in more than three years. Fueled by improving restaurant sales and traffic across the United States in October, the RPI increased 0.4 percent from September to 100.7, its highest total since September 2007. It is also the second consecutive month that the RPI exceeded 100.

“Most notably, a majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales in October, the first such occurrence since August 2007,” said Hudson Riehle, senior VP of NRA’s research and knowledge group. “In addition to improving current situation indicators, restaurant operators are increasingly optimistic about sales growth in the coming months, and also reported a positive outlook for staffing levels for the first time in six months.”

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