Seafood for the Future
October 4, 2011
Seafood for the Future (SFF)—the Aquarium of the Pacific’s program to promote sustainable seafood—has continued to evolve, adding more partners and programs to its roster. The most recent of these is Trace and Trust Southern California, which was debuted at the Aquarium’s eighth annual Sea Fare fundraising event in October.
Trace and Trust™ is a network of fishermen, distributors, processors, and restaurants committed to providing full seafood supply transparency by telling consumers exactly who caught their seafood, as well as when, where, and how it was caught. The concept was first tested in Rhode Island, where local fishermen and chefs regularly use Trace and Trust. SFF learned about the program and wanted to bring it Southern California, with the aim of rewarding fishermen with a higher price return, chefs with a fresh, higher-quality product, and the consumer for choosing local, sustainable seafood by showing them the men and women their choice is directly supporting.
The SFF website has been updated with more seafood species that have been added to the recommendations page, as well as recipes for enjoying these new selections. In light of recent data, fisheries like the Pacific common thresher shark have rebounded in terms of their biomass (the amount of fish in the fishery) and are now being harvested at sustainable levels. Management details have been added to each of the recommendations, where relevant, to highlight SFF’s partnership with FishWatch and how effective fishery management can help in rebounding fisheries and keeping them sustainable. More than twenty new partners have been added to the Seafood for the Future program, including new restaurants like Royal Hawaiian, Scott’s Restaurant, and K’ya Bistro; partner distributors like Santa Monica Seafood; and brand partners like PureFish. In the month of July alone, over 3,400 guests experienced the Aquarium of the Pacific after visiting one of SFF’s partner restaurants and ordering a sustainable seafood dish.
Also in recent months, SFF was named the best “Earth Changer” in L.A. by Los Angeles Magazine for efforts in helping Southern California businesses become more environmentally sound. SFF has also participated in events like the Aquarium’s Urban Ocean Festival and Top Fish Long Beach, a seafood cooking competition, has been called upon by one of the largest distributors in America to help them build a sustainable seafood program, and has been fostering relationships between fishermen and Southern California end-users to encourage transparency and traceability in the local market.
Andrew Gruel, former program manager at Seafood for the Future, has gone on to open his own sustainable seafood restaurant concept SlapFish. SlapFish, one of many popular food trucks in the L.A. area, is now among SFF’s partner restaurants. Melissa Carrasquillo has taken Gruel’s post at SFF. Experienced in advocating for the use of responsibly sourced seafood, Carrasquillo is a former chief sustainability officer at City Sea Foods.