Monday, July 14, 2014

Chefs for Oceans want to teach us a thing or two about sustainable seafood. Here's why we should listen

Ned Bell of Chefs for Oceans thinks sustainable seafood is worth the efforts, and you should too.
Ned Bell is peddling sustainable seafood, literally. A sustainable seafood activist and founder of Chefs for Oceans, Chef Bell is biking across Canada to get Canadians more interested and engaged in sustainable seafood.  

Chosen as one of Canadian Living’s Top 10 Canadian Chefs You Need to Know About, Chef Bell is the executive chef at the Four Seasons Vancouver, the first upscale restaurant in Canada to go 100% sustainable for its seafood, meaning that the fish served at the restaurant is caught or farmed in a way that ensures the long-term health and stability of the fish stocks and the greater marine ecosystem. 

His journey is in partnership with Ocean Wise, a conservation program through the Vancouver Aquarium and SeaChoice a sustainability program affiliated with SeafoodWatch, a well-known U.S. sustainability program.  For a decade these programs have been working their way across the country creating partnerships with restaurants and retailers, making it extra easy for consumers to source sustainable seafood. The programs have yet to reach the East Coast though, but both offer great online resources and cell phone apps that make it easier to know what seafood at our local markets is most likely sustainable. 

Chef Bell’s goal is to ensure that sustainable fishing practices become the norm within the next 10 years. Even at that we’re racing the clock. According to Ocean Wise and SeaChoice, 75% of fisheries (globally) are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted.  

Why you should choose sustainable seafood:

  1. Overfishing is a significant threat. It’s estimated that we’re down to the last 10per cent of many species and with current fishing practices the fish can’t reproduce quickly enough for stocks to recover. Some common fishing methods have been compared to clear cutting.  
  2. Waste due to bycatch is another challenge to global fish populations. It’s estimated that about 25 percent of fish caught in commercial fisheries is unintended catch so tossed overboard, dead or dying. 
  3. Habitat destruction threatens wild fish stocks as well. Certain fishing and fish farming practices destroy habitats that are necessary for species to spawn and survive. 
In order for seafood to be certified sustainable  it must meet the following criteria:
  • Seafood must be from stocks that are abundant, from fisheries that are well-managed and use fishing practices that ensure limited bycatch. For farmed fish to be certified the farming practices must limit damage to marine or aquatic habitats and other species. 

Chef Bell started his journey on July 1st in NL and on Thursday, July 17th he’ll be at the Saint John Ale House for an afternoon fundraiser and food fest. 

Visit or for easy-to search listings of sustainable seafood choices. To follow Ned on his cross-country trek visit

Go one step further and help the Atlantic Right Whale too. Irving Oil has an initiative in partnership with the New England Aquarium. If you visit Irving Oil’s Facebook page and click on “Help Right Whales” Irving Oil will donate $5 to Right Whale research, conservation and education initiatives at the Aquarium.


jill brock said...

Great Post Bridget. Thanks, You might want to check out Just Seafood in Rothesay. They're carrying Arctic Char from a farm in central NB which I believe is what you are referring to here. They're a couple of doors down from the CIBC.

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