November is Ocean Wise Month: Support Sustainable Seafood

Filleting a Coho salmon. Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium

November is Ocean Wise month. A briny array Vancouver’s top seafood chefs, fishermen, fishmongers and even a B.C. oyster farmer recently gathered at ORU restaurant at The Fairmont Pacific Rim to celebrate sustainable seafood in coordination with the Vancouver Aquarium.

The event involved seafood prep demonstrations by the experts and, inevitably, eating. The Ocean Wise festivities were an enticing smorgasbord of local, sustainable seafood. Education has never been so tasty.

Rampant overfishing is the greatest threat to our oceans today. So what should we be consuming?  Which Vancouver restaurants serve sustainable seafood choices? Read on to find out.

Ocean Wise month kick-off at Fairmont Pacific Rim

The Vancouver Aquarium founded the Ocean Wise program in 2005 in response to the scary statistic that 90% of all large, predatory fish are already gone from the world’s oceans.  Their research predicts that fisheries will collapse world-wide by 2048, unless we change things up.

Vancouver Aquarium helps to link sustainable seafood suppliers with restaurants, fishmongers and eventually diners/shoppers. You can check if your seafood choice is sustainable by browsing the Ocean Wise partner list, looking for the Ocean Wise symbol on a menu, or by using the new Ocean Wise iPhone app. In 2012, there are 450 participating Ocean Wise members, in a total of over 3,100 locations.

At the Ocean Wise month demonstrations, Vancouver’s talented chef Robert Clark of the award-winning seafood restaurant C was on hand to prep and serve B.C.’s sweet spot prawns. Chef Darren Brown of Fairmont Pacific Rim’s swanky  ORU restaurant  taught the crowd how to shuck Sawmill Bay oysters from B.C.’s Read Island. Young Dylan McCulloch and Ryan Johnson, co-founders of The Daily Catch on Commercial Drive, showed us all how to fillet a Coho salmon.

Next time you’re in the mood for seafood, here’s a shortlist of some great local, sustainable choices.

  • B.C. & Alaska Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink, and Sockeye salmons (seine net, gill or troll caught)
  • B.C. spot prawns (trap caught)
  • Clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops (beach or suspension farmed)
  • B.C.  Albacore tuna (poll or troll caught)
  • Pacific cod (bottom longline or trap caught)
  • Pacific halibut (bottom longline or handline caught)

Ocean Wise month builds up to Vancouver’s favourite fishy event: The Vancouver Aquarium’s annual Chowder Chowdown, November 21. Attendees will savour a dozen original, ocean-friendly chowders, paired with craft beers.  And now for some food porn. All appies are made by Fairmont’s ORU.

Read Island Oysters

Oyster shucking

Spot prawn escabeche with avocado and heart of palm salsa

Candied cold-smoked salmon with fried capers and lemon mascarpone

Photo credits: Vancouver Aquarium

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2 Responses to November is Ocean Wise Month: Support Sustainable Seafood

  1. Hmm

    I am all for the environment. But every business, every marketing company is now using sustain(able) and it’s the buzz word of the decade, just like empowerment was in the early 2000’s. It’s horrible annoying and overused. Just saying.

    • Kerry McCulloch

      In my opinion, “sustainable” is a buzzword we should all pay more attention to. It is anything but annoying! When someone states their business is sustainable, they must mean what they say. I shop much more carefully these days, trying to buy “sustainable” products whenever possible.

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