If You Love This Fish, Help Save It!

Some celebrity chefs are banding together to help save endangered fish.

January/February 2010

By Lisa Gosselin

Some celebrity chefs are banding together to help save endangered fish.

What do celebrity chefs Alton Brown (pictured here, with a wreckfish), Rick Bayless and Rick Moonen have in common? Answer: You will no longer see them eating or serving Atlantic (a.k.a. “farmed”) salmon, imported shrimp, Chilean sea bass, monkfish or anything else on Seafood Watch’s red “Avoid” list. To date, more than 30 top chefs have taken Seafood Watch’s “Save Our Seafood” pledge to stay away from 31 overfished species and instead promote ocean-friendly “Super Green” fish, such as wild Alaskan salmon and most U.S.-farmed shellfish. This is a good wave to catch: the last time chefs banded together for a boycott—in the 1990s, to protect dwindling stocks of Atlantic swordfish—it worked.

According to a recent report, that population has nearly recovered.

The chefs are not alone; big food-service companies, such as Bon Appétit Management Co. and Compass Group, have signed on as well. Even Wal-Mart has pledged that by 2011 it will purchase only wild-caught fish for the U.S. market from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council and buy only shrimp from fisheries certified by the Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc.

Next on the fish-saving agenda: Monaco has proposed a worldwide ban on trade in bluefin tuna, an overfished species so prized for sushi that one can fetch up to $100,000 at the Tokyo fish market. Learn more, download a pocket guide to sustainable fish and take the pledge at seafoodwatch.com.