Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Written by Adrianne Madden
Thursday, 06 January 2011
New Year's has come and gone. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to raise my glass to Legal Sea Foods and its President and CEO Roger Berkowitz.
On Monday, Jan. 24, the Boston-based seafood chain's flagship location will host a meal featuring only "blacklisted" seafoods. That is, fisheries the Monterey Bay Aquarium and their ilk have called on chefs and patrons to boycott.
The problem with the blacklisted fisheries, as the organizers point out and most fishermen know already, is that their categorization often ignores the complexity of the oceans. The justifications for blacklisting (or greenlisting!) are varied, sometimes politically influenced, and even based on old data or perceptions.
The menu will feature tiger shrimp, cod cheeks and hake, all of which were carefully chosen to represent sustainable fisheries that are labeled as seafoods to avoid.
I am all for chefs and consumers making informed decisions about what they buy and eat or serve. And that includes those daring enough to reach beyond the greenwashing and ask why.
The average consumer will see Monterey Bay Aquarium's red (avoid) list and refuse to eat what's on it without questioning the methodology that landed the fishery on the list. Can we blame them? The list is put out by a well-respected aquarium.
But what they, and many activists, fail to understand is that buying Northeast cod will not empty the oceans of cod. U.S. fishery management does not respond to demand; it responds to biomass (ideally).
A fixed amount of cod enters the marketplace every year. The result of buying and eating cod is that the limited supply will simply be more valuable. What happens then? The fishermen who fish for it might actually be able to make their boat payments with their quota! Is that so harrowing a prospect?
So if you can't be at the Legal Sea Foods blacklisted dinner, I encourage you to pick a red- or blacklisted U.S. fishery to dine on the evening of Jan. 24. And join me in a toast to the future of wild American seafood.
The American Fisheries Society is honoring recently retired Florida Institute of Oceanography director Bill Hogarth with the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award — one of the nation's premier awards in fisheries science - in recognition of his long career and leadership in preserving some of the world's most threatened species, advocating for environmental protections and leading Florida's scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.Read more ...
The Marine Stewardship Council has appointed Eric Critchlow as the new U.S. Program Director. Critchlow will be based in the MSC US headquarters in Seattle. He is a former vice president of Lusamerica Foods and has over 35 years in the seafood industry.Read more ...