By Abigail Javellana
February 15 – 21, 2016 will be a long week affair of the first ever Sustainable Seafood Week organized by top hotels and restaurants in Manila along with the different environmental groups and fisheries NGOs.
Sustainable Seafood Week, a celebration of food, aims to share the best practices in creating sustainable fisheries and to raise awareness among seafood consumers and stakeholders on the problems plaguing the Philippine seas. An important issue to be tackled is unsustainable fishing practices, that not only harm the marine environment, but also threaten the country's fisheries industry.
Sustainable Seafood Week Ph
February 15 – 21, 2016
6 million filipinos depend on the ocean for food and livelihood.
Because of health issues surrounding red meat, more and more people are consuming alternative sources of protein, like seafood. To ensure that food is collected and used sustainably, high-profile users of seafood are helping raise awareness to protect this valuable and finite resource.
"In the last 15 years, I realized that working with unsustainable products was not only my responsibility as a person but a bigger responsibility as a chef," said Chef Chele Gonzales 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 contributing to the sea's sustainability and are creating environment change with every plate."
"We need to create a system of traceability from fish to plate." Mark Dia, Greenpeace
"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 about our tuna products- from where our fish was caught to the status of the stick, 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 Scmidradner, 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 seafood to both local and foreign markets."
"Aquaculture is the most promising sector and has potential to supply a growing world population with protein" Rene Benguerel, Blueyou Consulting.
One of the sectors tackled during the initiative was about aquaculture. Ernesto "Jack" Morales the Technical Regional Director of Aquaculture suggested we focus on farming local species such as catfish and snakeheads that are natural to the environment. For Tilapia, if farmers can change the way they culture that is fully dependent on commercial feeds, because of new technology available using natural feeding methods. He also strongly advice to avoid introducing new species in the Philippines that would naturally threaten the biodiversity of our natural waters.
"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.
The top hotels and restaurants participating in the Seafood Week include Fairmont Hotel, Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, Marco Polo Ortigas, Mariott Manila Hotel, The Peninsula Manila, Shangri-La Hotels, Fairmont Raffles, New World Makati, Le Club, Lulu Hooch, Vask and Disciples Escoffier International Asua.
Participating organizations include the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Meliomar Inc., Blueyou, Centre for Sustainability, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, PEMSEA and RARE Fish Forever.
For more information, please go to www.Facebook.com/SustainableSeafoodWeekph
Sustainable Seafood Week Ph
February 15 – 21, 2016
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Disclosure: Our coverage was courtesy of the Sustainable Seafood Week Organizers. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.