Businesses focus on sustainability for Earth Day


Mercedes Grandin, SeafoodSource contributing editor

Published on
April 22, 2009

For Earth Day on Wednesday, seafood companies focused on improving the health of the oceans and supporting seafood sustainability.

Bradenton, Fla.-based Regal Springs Tilapia established its Fish for Trees program to support locally owned tilapia farms in Indonesia, Mexico and Honduras. Since its inception, Fish for Trees has returned USD 500,000 (EUR 384,400) to local communities for re-investment in schools and community-owned fish farms. The program aids the environment by transitioning villagers from tree cutters to fish growers in countries with substantial logging industries.

“Our motto is not about the fish, it’s about the people. In order to have true sustainability, you can’t just focus on the aquaculture of the fish, you must focus on the social, economic, as well as ecological sustainability of the people in order to support these aquaculture farms,” said Jim Bruffy, vice president of Regal Springs. “The Fish for Trees program was started because, to be successful, you must provide these additional sustainability support strategies in order to be truly sustainable. Therefore, by giving the people good reasons not to deforest, by providing them with food, jobs, homes, schools – it’s all part of the bigger picture. It’s not just Fish for Trees but also ‘Fish for Education’ as well.”

The South Carolina Aquarium is doing its part to advance seafood sustainability with its Sustainable Seafood Initiative, a conservation program that teaches chefs about sustainable seafood.

For Earth Day this year, the Sustainable Seafood Initiative and at Farringdon Bistropub  in downtown Summerville, S.C., promoted a four-course dinner featuring sustainable seafood paired with Belgian beer. Entrées included steamed Gulf oysters with a white wine mustard sauce paired with Malheur Bière Brut by Brouwerij De Landtsheer NV and braised tilefish wrapped in leeks served over lavender risotto with a citrus beurre blanc paired with Fantome BBBRRR by Brasserie Fantome.

Additionally, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) promoted its partnership focused on science-based solutions for the conservation of the world's tuna stocks.

"More and more retailers and their customers are demanding producers supply sustainable products," said ISSF President Susan Jackson. "Shelf-stable tuna must be sustainable. The companies we work with have made the health of the world's tuna stocks a priority and this effort shows just how devoted they are to that commitment."

This month, ISSF is expected to update the status of tuna stocks to help develop and adopt conservation measures for the 19 stocks its members source from.

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