Stories / Impact

New Sustainable Seafood Leaders from Coast to Coast

JBF's Smart Catch Expands

Maggie Borden

March 13, 2018


Scallop and Albacore with Coconut, Avocado, and Sunflower Crumble from our recent JBF Greens Sustainable Seafood dinner at Seamore's, a Smart Catch Leader restaurant. (Photo: Jeff Gurwin)

We’re nearly one year into JBF’s sustainable seafood program, Smart Catch, and are excited to share some of the developments and updates that have occurred since launching the national pilot last June.

Smart Catch is the James Beard Foundation’s sustainable seafood program created with chefs for chefs with the purpose of increasing the sustainability of the seafood supply chain. With more than 90 percent of the world’s fisheries either fully fished of overfished, preserving marine life and promoting sustainable farmed options to assure stable fishing stocks is more important than ever. 

Chefs seek out sustainable seafood that is fished or farmed in environmentally responsible ways, but sometimes it’s not that simple. Smart Catch offers resources and training support, so they can make smart seafood choices when making product purchasing decisions.

New this year, restaurants that have achieved “Leader” status have received a Smart Catch emblem for 2018, which they can display in their dining rooms to make it easy for diners to identify and choose Smart Catch businesses for their next seafood meal. To earn the “Leader” status, a restaurant must fulfill a number of updated requirements, including having two or fewer “red” items and scoring 80 percent or higher on back-to-back assessments.

As of March 1, there are 117 “Leader” restaurants in 15 states across the U.S., from sushi bars in coastal cities to pizzerias in landlocked locales. And with 145 Smart Catch “committed” restaurants currently undergoing assessments, the number of sustainable options for diners is growing every day.

Learn more about our updated leader criteria, and find a Smart Catch restaurant near you.

Learn more about JBF Impact Programs.


Maggie Borden is associate editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.