Monday, January 31, 2011

Framing Seafood Sustainability

Squamish Nation Elder Audrey Rivers
A traditional blessing from Squamish Nation Elder Audrey Rivers provided an evocative and emotional opening to the 9th International Seafood Summit.  She welcomed people from the ‘Four Directions’ noting the relationship between the traditional medicine wheel and characteristics of each direction--including foresight from the east and hindsight from the west.  She spoke of the importance of honoring the past, acknowledging the present, and looking to the future.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson shared his thoughts on sustainability, inspired in part by his own experiences sailing and fishing as a young man in the Vancouver area.  He welcomed participants and thanked summit organizers for choosing Vancouver noting that local restaurants and chefs have been leaders in putting sustainable seafood into practice.  It’s Dine Out week in Vancouver so there are plenty of reasons to get out and enjoy what Vancouver restaurants have to offer!

Yvon Chouinard, Henry Demone, Jim Cannon
A provocative keynote speech from Patagonia founder and “accidental businessman” CEO Yvon Chouinard challenged summit participants to think more deeply about what sustainability really means.  “With 7 billion people on the planet—this finite planet--I don’t believe there’s any economic activity that is truly sustainable.  We have to qualify that word ‘sustainable’ with ‘less’ or ‘more’ in front of it.”  He appealed to the seafood industry to ask deeper and deeper questions as he chronicled his own journey to create a responsible business.

The opening plenary session also featured a dialog in response to the question ‘How Far Can and Should the Sustainable Movement Go in Improving Fisheries Worldwide?’ Jim Cannon from the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership joined Yvon Chouinard and Henry Demone in the conversation facilitated by SeaWeb Vice President of Sustainable Markets, Melanie Siggs.

Afternoon sessions offered attendees a wide array of topics from which to choose. Chefs took center stage for a discussion entitled ‘Gatekeepers to Cuisine Consciousness—Chefs Explore Their Influence on, and Responsibility to, Sustainability. Vancouver-based Chef Robert Clark of C Restaurant—who is also a Seafood Champions finalist—talked about serving smaller portions and rotating menu items to account for seasonality as some ways to enhance sustainability. Chef Xavier DeShayes, Executive Chef of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center noted the role of a chef is to teach—whether it be the kitchen staff, front of house staff or clients. 
Rainbow Creek Dancers

The day was rounded off with a lively reception for all 700 plus delegates who were treated to traditional dancing from the Rainbow Creek Dancers and a focus on the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Initiative.

Tomorrow’s agenda is equally full—so stay tuned for more!

No comments:

Post a Comment