For Immediate Release
Food & Water Watch Partners With Chefs Nationwide for Healthier, Safer Seafood Choices
Consumer Group Promotes Smart Seafood Guide Throughout Month of October
WASHINGTON - Today, Food & Water Watch, a national consumer advocacy group, kicked off a month-long celebration of safe and healthy seafood, joining forces with chefs across the country to promote sustainable fish choices. To raise awareness about cleaner, greener, safer seafood, the organization released a wallet-sized recommendation card - the Smart Seafood Guide - that will help consumers and chefs make better choices about the types of fish they eat and serve. Events throughout October - deemed "Oktoberfish" by Food & Water Watch - will give people the opportunity to enjoy cooking and tasting the Smart Seafood Guide recommendations first-hand.
"Not all seafood is created equal," stated Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. "Depending on where it is caught or raised, or how it is processed, some seafood can be detrimental to economies of local fishing communities, wild fish populations, and consumer health. The Smart Seafood Guide considers all these factors and provides consumers and restaurants the best sustainable alternatives available."
The Smart Seafood Guide lists substitutes for some of the most popular, but potentially harmful, seafood choices, the consumption of which may impact the environment, the economy and people's health. Recommendations are based on the most common seafood choices found across the country and regionally. For example, the national seafood card lists mahi-mahi as a better alternative to tuna, many kinds of which are badly depleted and can contain high amounts of toxins like mercury. In the Gulf of Mexico, where farmed shrimp and depleted red snapper are often top seafood picks, the regional card suggests wild Key West ("Tortugas") pink shrimp, Royal red shrimp, and pompano or mangrove snapper.
"What sets this card apart from other seafood cards is the strict standards we used to determine the best choices," states Hauter. "We were very detailed and careful about having absolutely no imports, nothing raised with dangerous antibiotics or pesticides, or anything that is badly overfished or poorly managed listed on the card. We also eliminated a tiered system that most cards have because when it comes to people's health and the environment, there is no such thing as a ‘mediocre' option."
As part of Oktoberfish, Food & Water Watch will be partnering with Washington, DC restaurant Sea Catch Restaurant & Raw Bar and its Executive Chef Chris Sgro, who will prepare two gourmet dishes using Food & Water Watch's seafood recommendations from the Smart Seafood Guide at the Taste of Georgetown event on October 11th. Chef Sgro will serve jumbo gulf shrimp wrapped in pastry & bacon with boursin cheese and wild Alaskan salmon tartar with plenty of sustainable seafood to sate the appetites of the approximately 10,000 people expected to attend.
"You're only as good as your last plate," stated Chef Sgro. "With knowledge of the environment and the will to do good, one can feasibly feed the discerning palates of our guests."
The Taste of Georgetown event will be just one of many opportunities for people to experience delicious and sustainable seafood. Another Oktoberfish event, Food & Water Watch's Get Cookin' recipe contest, challenges amateur cooks to create an original recipe using the Smart Seafood Guide choices. Washington, DC-based chef Joseph "Rocky" Barnette will judge the contest and will also work with Food & Water Watch in encouraging restaurants across the country to transition to offering more sustainable seafood options.
"We hope that other restaurants will follow Chef Sgro and Chef Barnette in their effort to demonstrate that safe and healthy seafood can be a delicious and convenient choice," concluded Hauter. "With enough support from consumers, restaurant-goers and chefs, sustainable seafood will eventually be top choices on menus and in markets across the country."
To view the Smart Seafood Guide online, please visit www.foodandwaterwatch.org/seafoodguide.
The learn more about Oktoberfish events and the Get Cookin'! recipe contest, please visit www.foodandwaterwatch.org/oktoberfish