Manila holds the first-ever Sustainable Seafood Week

Top hotels and restaurants in Manila joined hands with different environmental groups and fisheries NGOs [1] to put their commitment onto the plates by organizing the first-ever Sustainable Seafood Week taking place from February 15 to 21.

The Sustainable Seafood Week is a celebration of food and a venue for sharing the best practices in sustainable fisheries by various stakeholders. The event also seeks to raise awareness among seafood consumers on the problems plaguing Philippine seas, particularly on the issue of unsustainable fishing practices that not only harm the marine environment but also threaten the country’s fisheries industry.

“In the last 15 years, I realized that working with sustainable products was not only my responsibility as a person, but a bigger responsibility as a chef,” said Chef Chele Gonzalez of Gallery Vask. “Sustainability plays a huge role in our philosophy as we want to preserve the raw products of the Philippines and this includes the local seafood.We have to relay this message not just within the food and beverage industry but more importantly to the public and to our guests who eat our food. It is good for them to know that they are contributing to the sea’s sustainability and are creating an environment of change with every plate.”

“Traceability is the core of our Artesmar Yellowfin Fishery Improvement Program for tuna. Fully traceable sourcing, production and delivery procedures ensure that consumers will have access to information around our tuna products- from where our fish was caught to the status of the stock, including the name of fishers. This ensures that the marine environment will not be harmed so we can all enjoy fish, while equitably helping the municipal fishers with profitable livelihood,” said Christian Schmidradner, General Manager of Meliomar Inc. and one of the organizers of the event.

The event was also welcomed by fisherfolk groups as it solidified the commitment of top hotels and restaurants to sustainable fisheries and allows them to gain access to high end markets in Manila.

“This is a huge validation for fisherfolk communities who have been struggling to fight for our rights and our place in the sun,” said Jeremie L Jumao-as, a local fisherfolk from Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Tunahan Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro. “The continued patronage by these hotels and restaurants will allow us to inform and train our fellow fishers on the proper way to catch fish to continue supplying quality seafood to both local and foreign markets.”

“The Sustainable Seafood Week is a wonderful collaboration by stakeholders and shows a strong desire to help our seas recover from overfishing and ecosystems degradation,” said Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines. “We urge the government and the rest of the players in the fisheries sector to play an active role and find ways to champion the marine environment to ensure that we will always have seafood to enjoy and savor now and in the future.”

The Sustainable Seafood Week will have various activities happening in various high-end partner hotels and restaurants. These include fisheries and environmental presentations, chef classes and technical workshops on what sustainable seafood is all about. For more information, please go to www.Facebook.com/SustainableSeafoodWeekph

[1] Participating and supporting organizations include the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Meliomar Inc., Fairmont Hotel, Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, Marco Polo Ortigas, Marriott Manila Hotel, The Peninsula Manila, Shangri-La Hotels, Fairmont Raffles, New World Makati, Le Club, Lulu Hooch, Vask, Disciples Escoffier International Asia, Blueyou, Centre for Sustainability, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, PEMSEA and RARE Fish Forever.

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