Sustainable seafood:

Sound Consumer | March 2002

By Kathy Blackman, PCC Board Administrator

At their January meeting, PCC board members previewed our new sustainable seafood program, one of the most exciting events here in recent memory.

They sampled tender pink shrimp from the North Atlantic, spot prawns from Alaska, teriyaki-grilled black cod, and mahi-mahi with a fresh tomato accent.

Forgive me some personal enthusiasm about this. I've hoped for such a program at PCC ever since arriving in Seattle almost 30 years ago, shortly after completing my graduate degree in water resources and fisheries management, and a subsequent stint at the National Marine Fisheries Service.

It was clear to me even in graduate school during the early 70's — a time when many people saw the ocean's resources as infinite — that our fisheries were headed for trouble. And it has taken the collapse of some of our key fisheries to capture peoples' attention.

PCC for some time has wanted to respond to member concerns about seafood with a sustainable seafood program that people can trust. The constantly changing fisheries picture — and the amount of effort required to keep on top of it — have been considerable obstacles to PCC until now. In partnering with EcoFish, PCC is in a position to provide seafood that our members can feel good about.

Working with a board of advisers including Carl Safina, head of the Audubon Society's Living Oceans program, EcoFish's goal is to identify and provide seafood from sustainable sources. Selection criteria include:

  • Population status
  • Management of fisheries
  • Bycatch issues (that is, unwanted fish and other sea animals caught in gear while fishing)
  • Impact harvesting method and aquaculture have on surrounding environment
  • Location of harvest

EcoFish's founder Henry Lovejoy has been working tirelessly with Lee Pate, PCC's meat merchandiser, to analyze our seafood selections and provide us with a total program that is one of the best in the area. I hope you'll be as excited as I am to see what's in store now!

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