Passionfish Co-Founder Andrew Spurgin Honored with Dr. Roger Revelle Award

P’fish’ers, we are beyond thrilled to give you this fin-tastic news from San Diego: Our very own Andrew Ryland Spurgin has been honored with the Dr. Roger Revelle Award.
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Please see the news release below and join us in San Diego April 26, 2012, for the San Diego Oceans Foundation Gala. The event is nearly sold out so act fast!
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Andrew Spurgin selected as 24th annual Dr. Roger Revelle Perpetual Award recipient

The San Diego Oceans Foundation has selected Andrew Spurgin as this year’s recipient for his dedication of sustainable seafood practices and commitment to encourage ocean stewardship.
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The San Diego Oceans Foundation’s (SDOF) most prestigious honor, the Roger Revelle Award, is awarded annually to a San Diegan in science, academia, industry, military, recreation or philanthropy who demonstrates personal initiative in encouraging stewardship of the world’s precious ocean resources. The award is named for the late Dr. Revelle, the fifth director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the driving force in creating the University of California, San Diego, and the first Director of the Center for Population Studies at Harvard. Past recipients include: filmmaker Howard Hall, Dr. Walter H. Munk, and Milton Shedd.
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This year’s recipient, Andrew Ryland Spurgin, is an innovator, inspirational leader, and an incredible culinary master. Mr. Spurgin is a chef/partner at Campine, A Culinary + Cocktail Conspiracy and is the co-founder of Passionfish and Cooks Confab. He also sits on the Advisory Board of Catering Magazine and Event Solutions Magazine. He is an Associate Board Member of the Slow Food Convivium San Diego. He is a past member of the Director’s Cabinet for Scripps Institution of Oceanography and E.W. Scripps Associate. He assisted in the development of Blue Ocean Institute’s “Green Chefs Blue Ocean” program, a national curriculum addressing sustainable seafood education for culinary students and continuing education for chefs. He sits on the Board of Trustees on the International Catering Association’s Educational Program and is a co-founder of The Culinary Liberation Front.
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Mr. Spurgin has produced and designed menus and events throughout the United States, in addition to Canada, England and Mexico. He regularly lectures to the industry and public and youth audiences too on sustainability, cooking, event design, culinary responsibility and entertaining. His events, interviews and photos have been featured in numerous local and national magazines, radio and TV. San Diego Home/Garden inducted Mr. Spurgin into the Chefs Hall of Fame in 2011. San Diego Magazine named him and Cooks Confab 50 People to Watch in 2011. He has received the coveted ACE Award as Best Caterer in the West, Spotlight Award as National Caterer of the Year, he has consistently won accolades from a host of local magazines and media as Best Caterer in San Diego.
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Mr. Spurgin has taken a leadership role with the San Diego Oceans Foundation as this year’s Culinary Chairperson for their upcoming sustainable seafood week and gala fundraiser at SeaWorld San Diego. Mr. Spurgin has been instrumental in educating chefs worldwide on the importance of sustainable practices in and out of the kitchen. His dedication and passion for the sustainable movement inspires others and proves that a simple choice can be delicious and have a lasting, beneficial impact on our environment.
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The award will be presented at SDOF’s sustainable seafood gala on April 26, 2012 at SeaWorld San Diego’s Turtle Reef exhibit. This event is SDOF’s largest fundraiser of the year, which funds their education and research programs in the community. Unlike most seated dinners, our guests roam the 14 different celebrity chef stations where they can interact with the chefs, learn about the proteins and understand their roles in sustainability.
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Click for more on the Roger Revelle Award
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About San Diego Oceans Foundation
Since 1984, the San Diego Oceans Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, has built a legacy of providing hands-on, meaningful volunteer programs that protect ecosystems, increase the understanding of marine life and provide solutions to environmental challenges. Whether it’s educating youth about marine science, restoring fish populations, tagging and monitoring lobster or educating people to become ‘citizen scientists’, each volunteer gains a deeper appreciation for our oceans. Visit us: www.sdoceans.org
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Contact: John Valencia
Telephone: 619-523-1903
Email: john@sdoceans.org
Website: www.sdoceans.org

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From BSR: “Business: Blue & Green”

fishtails
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P’fish’ers
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A great read posted on the Business for Social Responsibility website. Very thoughtful essay by Mike Sutton, VP at Monterey Bay Aquarium, about the threats to our world’s ocean and ways to combat those threats (climate change, habitat destruction, overfishing, and pollution). Business can be (if it wants to be) a savior, as we’ve always advocated at Passionfish: Commerce and conservation working together.
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Confusion over eco-labels? It could get worse before it gets better.

fishtails
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P’fish’ers, we’ve learned this week that the wild Alaskan salmon fisheries have decided to part ways with the eco-label provided by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). As far as we’ve known, the MSC label has been the gold standard for certifying fisheries as ecologically sustainable.
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And, if you look at our own history, you’ll see that we’ve supported MSC 100 percent over the years.
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So, it came as a surprise this week to read the news on IntraFish, a seafood industry go-to source, that the Alaska wild salmon industry is going to work with a new eco-label certifier called Global Trust. I’m sure it’s super complicated behind the scenes but I wanted to add my perspective/s on this. [There are also certifiers for farm-raised seafood (aquaculture) such as the Global Aquaculture Alliance with its Best Aquaculture Practices label].
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The MSC certifies wild seafood and has been in existence since 1999. It was created by the World Wildlife Fund and Unilever: Giants in their respective sectors. The process is thorough, if not daunting, for fisheries that wish to be vetted. And expensive as the participating fisheries must renew their certifications every five years, while the participating retailers pay a licensing fee to use the MSC logo on their packaging. The MSC uses third-party certifying agencies and they promise an independent, transparent process. Over the years, they’ve grown substantially, so more and more MSC-certified products have entered the marketplace all over the world — giving us consumers confidence in the product and giving the retailers a price premium on their products.
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At Passionfish, our organization has promoted the MSC since our inception. We’ve held many public events featuring the MSC and the products of their eco-certified fisheries that had gone through their tough process– such as wild Alaskan salmon (and lesser knowns such as the Western Australia rock lobster!).
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While we’ve spent time promoting MSC-certified products, the BIG PLAYERS have shelled out dollars to promote the eco-label as “the best environmental choice in seafood” (the MSC motto). I’m talking about seafood wholesalers and retailers (buyers across the planet). The people who do the “dirty work” for us consumers by vetting products that are “good for us and for the environment” so we don’t have to. A massive buyer stuck in the middle right now is WalMart, the largest retailer in the U.S. They committed to buying only wild-caught seafood that has earned (& therefore depicts) the MSC seal of approval. Which means, they are now considering dropping wild Alaskan salmon. Why? Because they could lose brand loyalty. Brand loyalty = customer loyalty = TRUST. They want their customers to have trust in their products. It remains to be seen what they will do…
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The buyers (wholesalers and retailers) are caught in the middle of this debate. They’ve spent time and money: in the form of licensing agreements and staff training and marketing, to promote MSC-certified seafood products. They’ve counted on the MSC label as part of their “corporate social and environmental responsibility” portfolio. They are trying to do the right thing, which includes trying to make our lives (their customers) easier.
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The outcomes of the eco-label debate: Will the MSC just lose one client (albeit, its biggest –wild Alaskan salmon?). Will a better eco-label come along that satisfies buyers? Will it be easier or more difficult to achieve? A watered-down label of lesser meaning? Or surprisingly more robust? Less expensive? It was inevitable that other labels would come along to compete with the MSC — why not? A healthy debate should surround what is “the best environmental choice in seafood.”
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Meanwhile, this issue still does not stick with consumers as much as those in the environmental community nor the seafood industry would like. People still want someone to tell her/him that the product doesn’t trash the environment. Because we (the general public) really don’t want to become experts on this subject. When we have a bunch of competing labels on the market, whether their logo is cast in green or blue or beige, shaped like a tree or a fish or an amoeba, people will tune out, or they’ll buy the product that they perceive is the healthiest and that is, for sure, less expensive.
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Meanwhile, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program is continuing its due diligence by comparing the various seafood eco-labeling schemes as they make their best (green), okay (yellow), and worse (red) choices recommendations. I think it’s safe to say that we’re all very eager to see the outcome of their study! We all know this is about trust. Who can you trust?
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And, maybe someday, there will be NO need for eco-labels at all, because everything will be environmentally sustainable (and socially, too, with no human rights violations!). Instead, all do-gooding companies across the planet will agree on a code of conduct, and as a powerful consortium, they will paste black labels on those nasty products we should all avoid. Until then…
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On a lighter note, we will be celebrating our 8th annual “Poisson d’Avril” (April Fish Day) this year. It’s our celebration of fish and mischief. We’ll be highlighting this and other crucial ocean/seafood sustainability issues in the flesh in New York at the Culinary Institute of America and in California with the fun-loving Cooks Confab, as well as online here and at our Facebook page.

Patti

Repost: “Businesses are increasingly seeing sustainability as a precompetitive issue”

P’fish’ers,

This blog in the UK Guardian is by our colleague Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund. Excerpt:
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We need to produce more with less, by focusing on three strategies: productivity, efficiency and elimination of waste – while reducing per capita material consumption. No company is big enough to guarantee its sustainability of materials. That is why working together is essential for survival.
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To wrap our hands around the issue, instead of trying to bring together thousands of companies, or convincing billions of consumers to change their behaviour, we’ve identified 100 companies that control 25% of the trade of 15 of the most significant commodities on the planet. If these companies demand sustainable products, they’ll pull 40-50% of production. That’s a manageable number.

A thoughtful blog on aquaculture sustainability

P’fisher’s, here’s a thoughtful blog in Seafood Source by Stephen Newman, Ph.D., a marine microbiologist.
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The last two paragraphs of his article are pasted below:
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The greater threat to global fisheries is global hunger and the inability of poorer countries to effectively regulate (not that all of the much better off economically countries do such a great job all the time). Aquaculture offers a potential solution and while it is not a panacea (there are none short of a drastic curtailment of population growth and reallocation of resources), there should be a greater focus on what really constitutes long term economic viability with a minimal environmental impact and a significant social benefit without dragging peripheral issues into this that cloud the issue and detract from what is the real issue.
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I think that sustainable aquaculture can be addressed in a straightforward manner. Are the cultural practices of today sufficiently evolved to ensure that they can continue largely unchanged into the foreseeable future? Are there mechanisms in place that allow them to change as economic and social forces evolve to ensure this? What environmental impacts are truly consequential and what truly constitutes benign impacts? Let’s focus on the real issues instead of clouding it with issues that many believe have little to do with true long term sustainability.