James Beard Foundation relaunches improved Smart Catch program

Published on
April 8, 2022
A James Beard Foundation's Smart Catch program advertisement.

The James Beard Foundation, in collaboration with Postelsia, has relaunched an improved Smart Catch program.

The program, which encourages greater use of sustainable seafood in U.S. restaurants, was launched in 2016 and expanded in 2017. It was put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Smart Catch is an important program for the foundation, as it epitomizes the transformative, positive impact that chefs can have on the environment through their menu decisions," JBF Vice President of Programs Anne E. McBride. "We are thrilled to bring this program back with the support of our partner Postelsia, with a renewed vision that acknowledges that change is a never a finished project, but ongoing, daily progress."

JBP partner Postelsia has operated the Smart Catch program since its creation, and aims to connect its seafood sustainability initiatives to consumers, retailers, and chefs who have commited to responsibly produced seafood.

“We are thrilled to be relaunching the Smart Catch program and have been working hard to create a new and improved program to have an even greater impact,” Postelsia Co-Founder and Director of Operations Laura Peet said. “It feels good to be able to once again celebrate chefs and restaurants that are committed to seafood sustainability.”

The program recently hosted chef events in New York and California in March 2022 designed to showcase curated storied seafood products from around the world, including antibiotic-free sea bream from Japan and other products from the SakanaBlue collection. Also making appearances were Riverence Trout from the U.S. state of Idaho, American Unagi from Maine, Selva Shrimp from Vietnam, and Kvaroy Arctic salmon from Norway.

The events were sponsored by Sea Tech Trading and the Japan Fisheries Agency. Sea Tech Trading aims to support the growth of seafood producers through international market initiatives, technology development, and sustainability improvements and has partnered with the Japanese government.

“Our organization is proud to support the Smart Catch program and raise awareness of sustainably produced sea bream from Japan. We are excited to support chefs who want to use their influence in leading industry efforts to create a more sustainable food system. It is great to have the opportunity to showcase Japanese efforts on this front,” Sea Tech Trading CEO Nemo Glassman said.

JBF also operates the Sustainable Seafood Partner program, which identifies seafood purveyors that are leaders in the industry when it comes to producing or harvesting seafood sustainably.

Photo courtesy of James Beard Foundation

Contributing editor/Reporting from Hawaii, U.S.A.

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