5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Seafood lovers are between a rockfish and a hard place: More than 80% of the world’s fisheries are being harvested at capacity or are in decline.
In honor of Earth Day, April 22, what can consumers do to make sure their seafood choices aren’t further depleting the oceans?
Chef Takao Iinuma brings a ray of light to the matter. Iiunuma is the executive chef at Genji Sushi, the purveyors of sushi and Japanese cuisine to Whole Foods Markets.
Selecting Sustainable Fish Options for Earth Month: Takao Iinuma
Dave Casmi has made his living fishing for lobsters along the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for 40 years. But he and other lobster fishermen are asking themselves if it’s even worth untying their boats from the dock anymore.
In today’s market, they are suffering from an economic triple whammy: High fuel prices mean it’s more expensive to trap lobsters, and the recession finds fewer people splurging on their catch. Plus, a lobster’s market value begins depreciating the moment it’s caught.
“I’m getting what I got 15 years ago,” he said, referring to the amount distributors are paying for his catch. “Just how long would you spend $3 to make $4?”
The situation is particularly painful for Casmi and his fellow lobstermen due to their inability to mark up the price to cover the cost of fuel: Distributors aren’t going to pay more for a product that is selling less. And because lobster needs to be sold shortly after being caught, Casmi can't hold out for higher bidders.
Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Chef John Ash serves on the Board of Advisors of Seafood Watch, an educational initiative for sustainable seafood by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He recently hosted a panel discussion about seafood sustainability as a practice. Among the participants were Chef Bun Lai, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainability Leader of the Year, and Yousef Ghalaini, executive chef of New York’s sustainable seafood restaurant Imperial No. Nine.
Recently, nearly 30 thought leaders in the seafood, restaurant and sustainability worlds came together to have a conversation about how chefs can embrace seafood sustainability in a greater, more mainstream way.
“Thought for Food: A Discussion on Sustainable Seafood” was facilitated by James Beard award-winning chef and author John Ash, widely respected as a sustainability pioneer. Participants came from a variety of backgrounds: chefs, NGO leaders, journalists and other members of the food industry vanguard.
When Captain John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay in 1608, he wrote that the oysters "lay as thick as stones." But hundreds of years of harvesting every oyster in sight have brought the bivalve population in the bay to record lows. Fewer oysters means murkier water, as a single oyster can filter 50 to 60 gallons a day. Dredge harvesting didn’t help either, as scooping up wild oysters flattens the bottom and ruins their habitat.
Cousins Ryan and Travis Croxton of Rappahannock River Oysters are trying to turn the tide. Their great-grandfather founded the company in 1899 when he leased five acres of river bottom on the Rappahannock River near Bowlers Wharf, VA. Their grandfather advised their father not to get into the family business, as it’s a lot of hard work with uncertain return; Hurricane Hazel wiped out their entire season’s efforts in 1954.
Generally speaking, we're on the side of anything that's proven to feed people healthily and not further deplete the Earth's resources. We'll also just note that it would be in the best interest of sea cucumbers' marketing strategists to minimize the ishfay ooppay onsumptioncay chatter and any manner of portraiture until the eaters of the world have found them to be as delicious and indispensable as chicken nuggets.
Starts around 3:50 in the video and yes, we've eaten and are fans(ish), but might have opted for a nice green salad or a rumbling stomach had we first seen it in its living state.
Read more at Earth's Frontier and Grouper housing – farming fish in China's skyscrapers
In Hong Kong, where factory space is stacked in skyscrapers, the 15th floor of an industrial block houses vast tanks in which thousands of rare fish swim under the eerie, purple glow of UV lights.
Normally found thousands of miles away on the reefs of the tropics, the coral grouper are being bred on land in one of the world's most densely populated metropolises to feed a local population that consumes 3.6 times the global average in seafood.
Sold live, fish like leopard coral grouper are highly valued in China, where ostentatious dining calls for expensive and attractive centerpieces for celebratory or business banquets - last week during the Lunar new Year a single fish could cost around $130.
But even the tons of fish swimming in the tanks of OceanEthix incongruous high rise facility can't sate a growing market for live reef fish in Hong Kong and mainland China that is worth around $1 billion each year.
More Building Up America coverage
Previously - The shrimp are coming from inside the house
Hurlock, Maryland (CNN)- Surrounded by cornfields and a chicken farm in rural Maryland sits the possible future of shrimping in the US.
“Bringing it indoors, making it 100% re-circulating, we were able to move the facility off of the coastline to middle America, farm country,” says Marvesta Shrimp co-founder Scott Fritze, pointing to one of sixteen large tanks filled with partial-salt water and thousands of shrimp. “There were no limitations from a geographic standpoint anymore [on] where you could build these.”