Cooking for Solutions 2013

Seafood is our love language, and at the annual Cooking for Solutions in Monterey, CA, we found a community of fellow blue sea lovers.

Our discussions of sustainable seafood came full circle as we walked around the Monterey Bay Aquarium, visiting food and wine vendors set against kelp forests and undersea exhibits.

Surrounded by the beauty of Monterey, Matt Elliot of CEA (California Environmental Associates) reminded us that when it comes to sustainable fisheries and seafood, "There is no silver bullet or even silver buckshot, just a lot of hard work."

In the "Charting a Course to Sustainable Fisheries" study, CEA shows that the health of our fisheries worldwide are slowly worsening. While 10% of the fisheries have been rebuilding since 1980, closer to 20% of fisheries have collapsed, with another 20% reported being overexploited. It's a lot of statistics, but the bottom line is that fishing boats are fishing more, and more intensively than ever before. Yet they are finding less fish.

Monterey's sardine fishery collapsed in the 1950s due to overfishing, but strict regulations have enabled the local fish populations to recover.

Those 10% of fisheries that have been rebuilding? They are our success stories! Due to sustainable regulations and smart management, these fisheries are staying profitable while ensuring that the fish will be there next year.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch provides tools and resources to everyone involved in seafood--consumers, seafood producers, distributors, lawmakers, etc.

Sustainable fisheries are "one of the best examples of using progressive consumerism to enact change." (Matt Elliot, CEA)

That's right folks. The secret is smart consumers who make changes in their daily habits to buy only sustainably-caught seafood. They ask their favorite restaurants where they source their seafood, and they are even the ones signing petitions. The secret is that you + me + our friends and family = change on a global scale. We won't see it happen today or tomorrow, but the researchers at CEA saw that over the last 20 years, our awareness and intentional consumerism has brought change.

We're just getting started.

A beaming sun set the tone for a beautiful lunch at the Monterey Bay Plaza Hotel.

After three days of panel discussions, conversations over lunches and dinners, and coffee talks turned into night caps, we've come home exhausted but motivated.

Marco from Taylor Shellfish Farms in front of a 2-story kelp forest at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

We have the tools to turn the tide on our ocean's most pressing issues. Sustainability means that we take responsibility as stewards of our oceans, caring for our resources so that they thrive (not just survive). By supporting fishermen who use sustainable fishing methods, we are feeding the movement, as well as our families!

Until next year, we will continue cooking up solutions from our headquarters at Pier 45. Stay hooked!




Posted May 21st by Danielle