Will Small Fish Save the Oceans? Globally Renowned Chefs to Begin Serving Sardines, Anchovies, and Other ‘Perfect Proteins’

Will Small Fish Save the Oceans? Globally Renowned Chefs to Begin Serving Sardines, Anchovies, and Other ‘Perfect...

“We are not using so much wonderful food,” said chef Gastón Acurio of Astrid y Gastón. “I am thrilled to have my good friends signing on in the effort to wake others up to the joy of eating these tasty and nutritious little fish.”

On Tuesday, March 17, during Oceana’s “Save the Oceans: Feed the World” campaign launch at the Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastian, 20 of the world’s most influential and talented chefs committed to honoring World Oceans Day, June 8, 2015. These chefs will serve small fishes — anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and herrings, to name a few — to raise the profile of these energy-efficient “perfect proteins.” 

Participating chefs include Grant Achatz (Alinea), Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park), Alex Atala (D.O.M), Ferran Adrià (elBulli Foundation), René Redzepi (Noma), and several others.

According to Oceana, “these species are known as ‘forage’ fish because they play a crucial role in food webs in some of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world. They are the main prey and pathway for energy transfer from creatures with very low trophic levels — plankton — to those with higher trophic levels — predatory fish, birds, and mammals.”

Used primarily in fisheries as fish meal for larger fish like salmon, and for chickens, pigs, and other livestock, these small fish account for 37 percent of all marine fish caught worldwide, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“Small fish like anchovies are generally the best fish for you,” said Patricia Majluf, Oceana’s vice president for Peru and a leading expert on small fisheries. “They have very high levels of nutrients like omegas, vitamin A, zinc, and calcium and are low in toxins — like mercury — that are present in other longer lived, larger fish.”

What’s more, “We can feed tens of millions more people if we simply eat anchovies and other forage fish directly,” said Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless.


“More forage fish — along with scientific management of the world’s fisheries — will enable us to ultimately feed more people from the oceans and to be less reliant on getting our animal protein from livestock in the future.”