Passionfish forum on ocean & seafood sustainability, summer 2010

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P’fishers, we recently held a fin-tastic forum on the beach on Coronado Island (San Diego, Calif) discussing ocean and seafood sustainability. Our event was co-hosted by the fabulous (and super generous) Hotel Del Coronado and the new, fun-loving nonprofit Cooks Confab that, other than being a group of cooks with a drinking problem, promotes local food and simple ways to prepare it!
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Our panelists were: Caron Golden (freelance journalist), Tommy Gomes (fisherman, Catalina Offshore), Kristen Goodrich (board member, Slow Food Urban San Diego), Martin Alberto Hall, Ph.D. (Chief Scientist, Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission), Nigella Hilgarth, Ph.D. (Executive Director, Birch Aquarium at Scripps), Don Kent (President, Hubbs Sea World Research Institute), Logan Kock (Vice President of Strategic Purchasing & Responsible Sourcing, Santa Monica Seafood, Inc.), and Andrew Spurgin (Executive Director/Chef, Waters Fine Catering, and Co-Founder, Cooks Confab and Passionfish).
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Our forum moderators were Carl Rebstock (Executive Director, Passionfish) and Robin Seigel (National Conflict Resolution Center).
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Our event was graphically recorded by talented cartoonist Lloyd Dangle (known for his work on the %$&!#@! Airborne packaging, among many years of political cartooning). He specializes in distilling very complex issues in a visual manner to aid problem solving. See his illustration below.
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We got lucky with the weather given that our event was held on the beach during a California coastal summer. Yes, right on the sand just a couple of footsteps from the Pacific Ocean. I was hoping I wasn’t the only one looking at the tide charts (& freezing my butt off that week)! Rain threatened all day (and all of the previous week). But, fortunately, we only had to deal with a fine mist that barely affected anyone.
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Optimists that we are, we had our summer clothes on beneath that marine layer and we charged ahead with our event! We’re grateful for the staff at Hotel Del Coronado who set up the stage and the awesome beach chairs for the audience, the sound/audio guys, and the audience full of culinary students and interested members of the public. Our audience participants also included representatives of several seafood companies. Thank you all.
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Our forum was followed by a decadent reception in the grassy area at Hotel Del, then a spectacular dinner at 1500 Ocean. Check out our Facebook page for details.
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Suffice it to say (for me, anyway), I ate about 50 oysters before the main course/s…and I think people were shocked we actually had an incredible dinner still to occur after the amazing reception. I had no qualms with it, of course.
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A Passionfish forum is unlike other educational forums on the subjects of ocean and seafood sustainability. We offer a venue for various, valid viewpoints that examine and explore solutions to help our ocean recover –no, THRIVE– ecologically while also keeping it a viable source of protein for humankind. Yes, I know how that sounds: IMPOSSIBLE! The ocean can’t do both! Well, we think it can do both.
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It will take sacrifice…there’s a word few seem to understand. A sacrifice in eating habits, and a sacrifice in thinking so that our ocean can continue to produce for future generations — yes, for humans. And, for the animals/wildlife within. And, it will take innovation. Big, bold innovation.
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The panelists (listed above) for our 2010 forum represented various sectors: commercial fishing, the wholesale and retail seafood industry, science/academia, public education and outreach, fishery and aquaculture research, and the culinary/restaurant sector.
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The common threads: Everyone believes the ocean has been damaged and needs recovery. Everyone believes commercial/wild fishing should continue (albeit greatly reduced). Everyone believes that aquaculture (the farming of finfish and shellfish) will have to meet the increasing (‘explosive’ is more like it) demand for seafood among the burgeoning world population; they also believe the U.S. has the best practices and is best prepared to innovate in this sector. Everyone believes that current fishing practices worldwide are not “sustainable.” And, everyone believes that public awareness of “ocean/seafood sustainability” is important, although no one agrees on what that looks like.
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Our forum’s transcripts are here. We will post our audience/panelists’ Q/A soon, and we welcome your thoughtful comments and questions.
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Patti
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