Meet Your Fisher
Restaurants have a great influence, when it comes to how people eat at home. Chefs can launch new trends by using unfamiliar ingredients, and front-of-house staff can do their bit by convincing diners to give them a try. Often those same diners go and buy that new thing they just tasted and loved in your restaurant, a few days later, to cook in their own kitchen. And that’s why you, as hospitality professionals, can make a massive difference, in guiding consumers toward making sustainable seafood and freshwater fish choices.
Why does it matter? Well, between the overfishing of popular species, ocean acidification, and the crazy amounts of bycatch being tossed back into the waters as waste, our marine ecosystems are on the brink of collapse. What we eat now—the type of fish and the way it's harvested and processed—will make a crucial difference when it comes to what’s around for our kids and grandkids to enjoy, in a decade or two. And it looks like their tuna sandwich days are numbered.
For the first time in May 2015, the Terroir Symposium branched out into a series of deeper issues-based sessions, firstly in Toronto and subsequently in St John’s, Newfoundland. We invited fishing industry experts and chefs to the table for a conversation about sustainable seafood.
By examining best practices in wild and shellfish fisheries and aquaculture—with the help of media, fishers, government, academics and chefs—we made it our mission is to figure out how we can support the health of our oceans, rivers and lakes, as well as our seafood and freshwater fish resources, for generations to come.
Click through our ONE FISH posts to learn more about what’s at stake and where we can go from here as an industry. From our first session in Toronto, one big takeaway was that every chef—no matter if they’re working in fast-food or fine dining restaurants—should start by talking with their fisher folks.
And here’s our first Call to Action:
Calling all chefs! Meet with your fisher in person and ask him or her about the major issues, policies and practices in Canadian fishing today.
When chefs build these relationships, they can advocate for the highest quality and freshest possible product and learn about the challenges around sustainable seafood in Canada, whether environmental, economic or relating to workers’ rights. You are in a unique position to transfer knowledge and influence consumer choices. So go get your information from the source—the man or woman on the boat!
To create momentum, use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to share pictures from your meeting with your local fisher. Tell us something you found out. Hashtag your posts: #Terroir2015 #GoneFishing .
(Photos: Rick O'Brien)