Sustainable Seafood Standards

The James Beard Foundation supports all efforts to promote the development and purchase of sustainable seafood, as defined by Seafood Watch, NOAA, and IUCN. JBF believes that chefs and restaurants drive trends around seafood and therefore we have a responsibility to promote the best sustainable seafood options available. We recognize that access to sustainable seafood may be determined by location and affordability and therefore we support localized fishery improvement projects, rated (and improving) farmed seafood producers, and moves to educate consumers about frozen alternatives. To that end, the James Beard Foundation has established basic criteria for our partnerships, national events, and the James Beard House related to seafood sourcing. These include:

Partnerships with Seafood Marketing Organizations and/or Specific Producers

  • Items promoted must at a minimum be rated “Yellow” by Seafood Watch 
  • Organizations/companies must be willing to discuss critical issues facing the program in an open and non-competitive fashion

Sustainable Seafood Served at JBF-Branded Events AND at the James Beard House

  • Prefer “green” or best-choice rated options, as outlined by Seafood Watch.
  • Cannot appear on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species (Endangered to Critically Endangered).
  • Locally sourced items that are unrated may be acceptable BUT information must be provided by suppliers related to catch method, species, and volume AND these must undergo a review by the SmartCatch Sustainability Team.
  • All items served at events must be accompanied by supplier invoices that demonstrate traceability.

In addition, the James Beard Foundation will work in coalition with partners (including NGOs, the fishing community, corporations and foundations) focused on improving the exchange of information and transparency to ensure the chef community has access to the most up-to-date information about fishery improvement projects, efforts to eliminate slavery and human rights abuses, and campaigns to limit plastics and other waterway contaminants.

Through our events, the James Beard House, the James Beard Awards, and the thousands of dedicated supporters, JBF is committed to educating chefs and consumers, and working with the global seafood community to promote sustainable seafood options.