Twenty Chefs Unite to Save the Oceans, Feed the World

Twenty Chefs Unite to Save the Oceans, Feed the World
From foodtank.com, by Emily Nink

20 globally-renowned chefs will officially announce their commitment to Oceana’s Save the Oceans: Feed the World campaign on March 17, 2015 in San Sebastian, Spain at the Basque Culinary Center. The campaign, one of several efforts by Oceana to influence global policy on ocean biodiversity, emphasizes both conservation and sustainable fishing to achieve the simultaneous goals of oceanic restoration and food security.

Realizing that less than half of a percent of environmental nonprofit spending in the United States was going to ocean advocacy, a group of foundations started Oceana in 2001. Since its founding, the organization has protected more than one million square miles of ocean. Following Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless’ book “The Perfect Protein,” the ‘Save the Oceans: Feed the World’ was founded to limit bycatch and overfishing, helping to restore ocean habitats worldwide.

Oceana states that seafood protein could provide nutritious daily meals for 700 million people, if sustainably managed through science-based methods. Focusing on wild seafood is a manageable task, since most of the productive waters lie within the boundaries of a few sovereign nations; just 25 nations catch 75 percent of global seafood. The campaign therefore centers on achieving policy changes, such as fishing quotas and bycatch limits, where the actions will be most impactful geographically. Finding that most philanthropy focused on biodiversity hotspots rather than on the most productive areas of the ocean, Oceana launched the campaign to focus on both food security and protection of oceanic diversity, claiming that wild seafood populations can save the oceans and feed the world.

To achieve these goals, three mechanisms for sustainable fisheries management are emphasized: enforcement of science-based quotas, protection of nursery habitat for spawning purposes, and limitation of bycatch (accidental killing of non-target species). According to Sharpless, “if we do those three things, we will increase ocean abundance, we will increase spawning stock, and we will have more fish — typically in a five or 10 year period.”

Realizing the importance of wild seafood for the planet and for their own businesses, acclaimed chefs will collaborate to impact policy change to protect biodiversity in the oceans and restore marine habitats. The event will be hosted by chefs Joan Roca and Andoni Luiz Aduriz, and will premiere the screening of Jorge Martinez’s short film, also called “The Perfect Protein”; the documentary features the chefs’ passion for seafood and support of conservation measures to protect ocean biodiversity. On March 16, 2015, the participating chefs will attend a seminar by Sharpless on the current state of the world’s oceans, before attending the main event on March 17, 2015. According to Sharpless, “we believe [the chefs] can help to make a huge difference for Oceana’s campaigns and the hundreds of millions of people who depend on the world’s oceans for their sustenance.”

The chefs’ commitment will contribute to achieving more campaign victories globally; Oceana has already established fishing quotas in Chile, decreased catch levels in the Pacific for sardine populations, and defended Belize against foreign trawlers, which protects local fishermen as well as wild seafood populations. The organization also releases publications and reports in multiple languages about the state of the oceans and the creation of priorities.

Participating chefs will include Ferran Adrià (elBulli Foundation, Spain, Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, Italy), Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, USA), Ashley Palmer-Watts (Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, UK), Alex Atala (D.O.M., Brazil), Juan Mari and Elena Arzak (Arzak, Spain), Pedro Subijana (Akelaŕe, Spain), Grant Achatz (Alinea, USA), Brett Graham (The Ledbury, UK), Joachim Wissler (Vendôme, Germany), Heinz Reitbauer (Steirereck, Austria), Gastón Acurio (Astrid y Gastón, Peru), Enrique Olvera (Pujol, Mexico), Rodolfo Guzmán (Boragó, Chile), Normand Laprise (Toqué, Canada), José Luis González (Gallery Vask, Philippines), and René Redzepi (Noma, Denmark).

It’s an impressive turnout: “It is truly amazing“ noted Chef Aduriz, “that so many prominent chefs who are so hectically busy, are coming to San Sebastian on March 17.  Chefs feel passionately about the importance of wild seafood, not just on the small scale and what it brings to our kitchens, but also because of its importance to the planet. I think we all just deeply feel the need to support this campaign and help make the oceans abundant again.”  

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