Last year, a small group of hotels, restaurants, retailers and NGOs got together to conceptualize the Sustainable Seafood Week to build public awareness on the issue of responsible seafood sourcing and how critical it is for the seafood industry to act in response to the rapid depletion of the ocean’s resources. Response from the industry and its customers was enthusiastic.
This February 20-26, more organisations will be participating to mount an even bigger and more substantive week-long celebration and learning event. Sustainable Seafood Week 2017 was launched on January 16 at the Mariott Grand Ballroom.
“There are more participants this year, more hotels and restaurants, educational institutions, NGOs, retailers, and other interested organisations. This shows growing importance placed on the topic of responsible seafood sourcing, implemented traceability, legal fisheries, and improvement of fishery and aquaculture management.
We started this movement with the involvement of all stakeholders, and with so many more organisations involved, we can draw more attention on the topic,” said Christian Schmidradner, General Manager of seafood company Meliomar and one of the lead proponents of the initiative.
This interest and commitment from the industry is reflected in the words of Meik Brammer, Executive Chef of Marriott Hotel. “This event is important to Marriott because we want to reinforce our commitment to ensure that only fresh, sustainable seafood will be served to our guests.
Serve Our World is one of Marriott’s core values and guide on how we do business. I will always support Sustainable Seafood because I want to support our local communities, I want to educate and inspire associates and guests to conserve and preserve,” shared Brammer.
This year’s activities will include workshops to develop a monitoring framework that will enable the progress of responsibly sourced seafood on the menus of the hotels and restaurants, and will link the Sustainable Seafood initiative to government policies. An educational series on Sustainable Seafood will also be kicked off to provide venues for discussion and learning throughout the year. The initiative will also bring more activities to more public spaces in order to reach out to a broader spectrum of people.
The group behind the Sustainable Seafood initiative emphasizes that the real impact of the effort will be proven when sustainable seafood solutions are connected to the buyers in the hotel, restaurant and retail chains. These seafood products that count as responsible solutions are fully traceable (“where is the fish on my plate from?”) from legal fisheries, include no threatened and endangered species, are not caught with harmful and destructive gear and are not juvenile fish. Best sustainable seafood products from aquacultures have no external feed, no medication, and are purely naturally grown.
The initiative’s partners stress that a multi-stakeholder approach is critical. All stakeholders have an important role in the successful realization of our vision. Laws, execution, community building, procurement guidelines and responsibly built supply chains, sustainable seafood policies, public awareness, and education are all important ingredients to improving the state of our oceans in the future. The Sustainable Seafood initiative envisions this collaboration of the stakeholders and brings the work of all involved organizations onto one public platform and inspires solutions for change.
“The Government should take its cue from the increasing number of establishments participating in the Sustainable Seafood Week to urgently and fully implement the Amended Fisheries Code of the Philippines. This is a crucial step in making sure seafood is equitably and sustainably caught.
Anything less will not allow our seas to recover from overfishing and ecosystem degradation. Sustainable Seafood Week Philippines is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and shows how Philippine stakeholders, including the hotel, restaurant and services industries, civil society groups, businesses and government agencies, can work hand in hand to address the problems happening at sea, one plate at a time,” cited Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
Rocky Sanchez Tirona of Rare, a conservation organisation that works directly with local communities, believed that seafood buyers, users, and consumers also need to understand that how they source their seafood can create powerful incentives for fishers to do the right thing. “If buyers are clear about the standards they want to enforce, and support that with schemes that will allow fishers to earn more from their catch as long as they comply with the standards, both the ocean and the people that depend on them, can thrive,” added Tirona.
For more information, please visit our Facebook page “Sustainable Seafood Week 2017”.
Note to the editor:
 Participating and supporting organizations include the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Meliomar Inc., Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, Marco Polo Ortigas, Marriott Manila Hotel, Marriott Bangkok, Enderun Colleges, New World Hotel Makati, New World Hotel Manila Bay, Large Marine Vertebrate Project, Philippines, Grand Hyatt Singapore, Conrad Manila, Agos, Echo Store, Down to Earth, Healthy Options, Control Union, MSC/ASC, Marine Wildlife Watch The Peninsula Manila, Shangri-La Hotels, Fairmont Raffles, New World Makati, Le Club, Hooch, Reef Check Philippines, Slowfood Philippines, Gracepark, Fishers and Changemakers, Discovery Leisure Company, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Accor Group Philippines, Vask, Disciples Escoffier International, Center for Culinary Arts, USAID, Conservation International, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Blueyou, Centre for Sustainability, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, PEMSEA and RARE Fish Forever.