These fishing pioneers are making it easier to eat sustainable seafood

fisherman

(Sasan Rashtipour, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Joe Myers, Writer, Formative Content


Imagine a restaurant menu where the fish changed every week, and you never knew what you might be able to order.

Well, that’s exactly the type of menu Dock to Dish is trying to create.

“You surrender your right to ask for anything… there’s no more I want,” explains Sean Barrett, Dock to Dish’s CEO.

The community-supported fishing programme only catches what’s plentiful and in season, before selling it on to local restaurants. In fact, the restaurants pay up front for their fish, and only know what they’re going to get on a weekly basis.

Catch of the day: sustainability

The model allows local fishermen to make the decisions about what to catch – rather than being driven by demand for a particular species.

By catching only what’s abundant, fish stocks are protected, and the pressure placed on ecosystems is reduced.

Join the Voice for the Planet movement

Voice for the Planet is a global online action campaign calling for action on climate change.

Launched by the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community at Davos in 2019 and in partnership with the Netflix and World Wildlife Fund “Our Planet” series, it encourages people to make commitments to change the way they eat, embrace renewable energy, restore nature in their communities, change what they buy and ask their government leaders to act.

Add your voice here.

For Michael Anthony, Executive Chef at Dock to Dish-supplied restaurant the Gramercy Tavern in New York, it’s about an openness to serve what’s available, rather than saying this is what our guests want to eat. And he believes this is increasingly what consumer are looking for:

“The sophistication of the dining public is now demanding that any great restaurant should have intimate relationships with the producers it works with.”

This relationship creates accountability, explains Barrett. The direct line of vision between source and consumer influences the behaviour of those catching the fish, how they care for the environment and their produce.

We’re out of the flying fish

And there are benefits beyond accountability, relationships and the planet. The quality is higher, too.

In the US, seafood travels an average of 5,000 miles per serving – with 90% of it imported.

But, a fish caught by Dock to Dish will never fly. Indeed, it will never travel further than 150 miles from the port in which it landed.

This means it only ever passes through three pairs of hands in the custody chain before it reaches consumers. Compare this to other models, where it might pass through 40, explains Barrett – losing quality all the time.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about the oceans?

Our oceans cover 70% of the world’s surface and account for 80% of the planet’s biodiversity. We can’t have a healthy future without healthy oceans – but they’re more vulnerable than ever because of climate change and pollution.

Tackling the grave threats to our oceans means working with leaders across sectors, from business to government to academia.

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute, convenes the Friends of Ocean Action, a coalition of leaders working together to protect the seas. From a programme with the Indonesian government to cut plastic waste entering the sea to a global plan to track illegal fishing, the Friends are pushing for new solutions.

Climate change is an inextricable part of the threat to our oceans, with rising temperatures and acidification disrupting fragile ecosystems. The Forum runs a number of initiatives to support the shift to a low-carbon economy, including hosting the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, who have cut emissions in their companies by 9%.

Is your organisation interested in working with the World Economic Forum? Find out more here.

It’s caught on

The fact the fish won’t fly doesn’t mean it isn’t scalable though. There are now Dock to Dish restaurants and ‘support a fishery’ programmes across North and Central America, says Barrett.

As a result, it’s also helping to restore the appreciation towards commercial fishermen as providers of food for the local community, he believes.

Chef Michael Anthony sums it up nicely: “We’re connecting people who eat in our restaurant to the world in which we live.”

Read more about the inspiring pioneers finding creative solutions to the climate crisis here: https://wef.ch/pioneersforourplanet

About the series: Each week we’ll bring you a new video story about the people striving to restore nature and fighting climate change. In collaboration with @WWF and the team behind the Netflix documentary #OurPlanet. #ShareOurPlanet

Read more about it here.

Want to raise your #VoiceForThePlanet? Life on Earth is under threat, but you can help. People around the world are raising their voice in support of urgent action. Add yours now at www.voicefortheplanet.org

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