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Announcing Our New Sustainable Seafood Partnerships

C+C Communications

March 22, 2018

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Mezcal-Cured Skuna Bay Salmon with Cucumber–Yogurt Relish and Golden Potato Flakes by Fortunato M. Ramin at the Beard House
Mezcal-Cured Skuna Bay Salmon with Cucumber–Yogurt Relish and Golden Potato Flakes from the 2017 Salmon Seduction dinner at the Beard House (Photo: Fortunato M. Ramin)

There’s nothing like the powerful combination of good company and delicious food to open up a dialogue. We see it every day at the James Beard House and in restaurants across the country. As the public becomes more concerned with the sustainability of the seafood supply chain, we understand the importance of involving everyone who fishes, farms, and distributes seafood, along with chefs and consumers who buy, cook, and order it at restaurants. 

That’s why we created JBF’s new Sustainable Seafood Partnership program. The four purveyors who have joined us at this foundational stage will lead a new effort to increase access to sustainable seafood. We know that chefs and restaurants drive the national trends, and we see this as an opportunity to cultivate educational conversations between the purveyors who supply seafood and chefs who prepare it. 

Here are our first Sustainable Seafood Partners: 

Australis Barramundi Logo

Australis Barramundi knows that if we relied on wild fish alone, meeting our recommended two servings of fish a week would require four planet Earths. With this in mind, they’re working to make a hearty species of fish called barramundi a household name. By diversifying seafood options on menus in restaurants and at home, and by leveraging the minimal environmental impact of this fish, they’re ensuring healthier oceans for years to come.

Blue Ocean Mariculture is the only open aquaculture farm in the United States, and the sole producer of Hawaiian Kanpachi. Farming a sashimi-grade species of yellowtail called kanpachi in the ocean off Hawaii sounds idyllic, but more importantly, it’s sustainable. Blue Ocean started with 15 wild fish as a brood stock and since then has brought half a million sustainably grown kanpachi to market.

Skuna Bay Salmon Logo

Skuna Bay craft-raises salmon in a natural ocean environment off Vancouver Island and stores fish in recyclable packaging during transport. At the center of their farming practices is an understanding that our planet needs more protein, and that increasing accessibility to sustainable seafood with the lowest carbon-generating food production systems on this planet is the best way to meet that demand.

Verlasso Logo

Verlasso raises salmon in Chilean Patagonia and was the first ocean-raised Atlantic salmon rated “Yellow” (or “Good Alternative”) by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Verlasso knows that sustainability in seafood is about balance, and brings this perspective into their approach to supporting the local Chilean economy and maintaining a healthy ocean environment.

More about the partnerships:

These partners know that chefs and home cooks alike are shopping with taste and health in mind, and they want to make sure sustainability goes hand-in-hand with these priorities. Each partner is rated Yellow or above by Seafood Watch, with sustainability criteria based on wild and farmed seafood production. This criteria includes ensuring the fish have plenty of room to grow and swim, that nutritious feed is provided, and that their farms have a positive impact on the surrounding environment. 

JBF’s Sustainable Seafood Partners will attend relevant industry events and public forums across the country, including JBF Sustainable Seafood Issue Summits and Culinary Labs. These events provide an opportunity for partners to engage chefs in discussions about the issues and offer hands-on experiential learning opportunities, including fish butchery and seafood tastings. 

These partners may work with differing fish species and operate across borders or continents away from each other, but they are all hoping to open a space for more education and conversation about sustainable seafood with the chefs that serve it every day.  

In addition to the Sustainable Seafood Partnership program, JBF is working to increase the sustainability of the seafood supply chain through the Smart Catch program. Smart Catch provides information and support to chefs and restaurants so they can serve seafood fished or farmed in environmentally responsible ways. Restaurants who are “Leaders” in the program are recognized with the Smart Catch emblem, distinguishing their business to consumers. 

JBF has also extended Smart Catch standards to the historic James Beard House in New York City, which serves as a “performance space” for visiting chefs.

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Learn more about Smart Catch.

Learn more about JBF Impact programs.

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