Sustainable Seafood Forum

Author: Lisa Wenzel

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On April 24, 2013, Notre Dame Food Service (NDFS) co-hosted the Sustainable Seafood Forum with HighLiner Foods.  Industry experts, members of NDFS staff, area food service professionals, and professionals from other universities in the region participated in this forum.  Topics included trends in seafood dining, aquaculture updates, an update on Wild Fishery, and an introduction to FishWatch:NOAA.  Over 30 participants shared and learned in this session. 

The importance of Aquaculture will remain critical in the future to ensure that wild stock is sustained to balance increased depletion caused by population growth.  With the increase in farm raised fish, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) has stepped up to advocate for responsible methods of farm raised fish stocks.  With a focus on the feed, the hatchery, the farm, and the processing, the GAA uses Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) to look for responsibility in social ethics, environment, animal welfare, food safety, and traceability.  Key points include:

Social Ethics:

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  • Property rights and regulatory compliance
  • Community relations
  • Worker safety and employee relations

Environment

  • Sediment and water quality
  • Fishmeal and fish oil conservation
  • Control of escapes and use of GMOs
  • Predator and wildlife interaction
  • Storage and disposal of farm supplies

Animal welfare

  • Health and welfare
  • Biosecurity and disease management

Food safety

  • Control of residues and contaminates
  • Harvest and transportation

Traceability

  • Record keeping

With the continued focus on Wild Fishery, the University of Notre Dame continues to remain Marine Stewardship Counsel (MSC) certified.  Sandra Cedrone, Senior Commercial Manager/Americas, updated the group on the progress made with this certification.  MSC certification focuses on three principles:

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  • Sustainability of the stock
  • Ecosystem impact
  • Effective management

The assessment is based on a fishery-by-fishery assessment.  The vision of the Marine Stewardship Counsel is to “Contribute to reversing the decline in global fish stocks, conservation of marine ecosystems, and all that depend on it.”

fishwatch

Laurel Bryant, Chief, External Affairs, NOAA Fisheries Communications Office, provided education on NOAA’s efforts to sustain the United States fisheries.  The pillars of NOAA are science, management, and enforcement.  The standards considered include:

  1. Optimum yield
  2. Scientific information
  3. Management units
  4. Allocations
  5. Efficiency
  6. Variations and contingencies
  7. Costs and benefits
  8. Communities
  9. Bycatch
  10. Safety of life at sea

Since 2000, 32 species have been rebuilt from near extinction.  NOAA works in conjunction with groups such as MSC, Seafood Watch, Alaska Seafood, and others.  They provide the scientific backbone to the work.  Fishwatch.gov provides species specific information about the status of a population’s health.

Having this many experts available here at the University of Notre Dame provide NDFS with a great look at the overall health of seafood and an updated focus on how we can support it responsibly.