Conservation & Science

Chefs serve up support for sustainable U.S. seafood

On June 14, chefs nationwide will be serving up support for our U.S. sustainable seafood law.

Chef Danielle Leoni of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar in Phoenix, Arizona shows off sustainably harvested short-spined thornyheads from California.

Over 50 culinary leaders across the country in cities like Honolulu, Los Angeles, Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland, Sarasota and New York are joining together that evening to celebrate the successes of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), our country’s premier fisheries management law—and to defend it from threats in Washington D.C.

Two bills currently before Congress, H.R. 200 and S. 1520, would weaken the MSA’s sustainability measures that have largely ended overfishing and recovered depleted species in U.S. waters. Chefs have been particularly vocal in their opposition to these proposals, pointing out that fisheries management is not just an issue for fisherman or coastal residents—it’s a food issue.

The culinary community from landlocked states knows this better than most. Seventy-two chefs from Midwest and Mountain West states recently weighed in with a letter to Congress, urging them to maintain science-based management and accountability measures of the MSA.

“Fisheries management may seem like a weird topic for chefs to get involved in,” says Danielle Leoni, chef and owner of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar in Phoenix, Arizona. “But we all love fish. And as a businessperson, I want access to a consistent supply of sustainable seafood—even though my restaurant is hundreds of miles from the nearest coast.”

Chef Tony Baker of Montrio Bistro in Monterey, California serves cioppino made with sustainable U.S. seafood.

Synchronized serving

During the in-restaurant event on June 14, chefs like Danielle will feature sustainable, wild-caught U.S. seafood dishes and provide informational cards in their menus and check presenters celebrating the MSA’s successes. They’re also encouraging their customers to contact members of Congress to help defend healthy U.S. fisheries.

“As chefs, we have a responsibility to help push the needle further toward a more sustainable food system, and seafood is a part of that,” Danielle says. “The U.S. already has a strong fishery management system in place. What we’re asking is that any changes build upon what we know works: catch limits based on the best available science, and making sure everyone stays accountable to those catch limits.”

At a time when the U.S. is considered a global leader in sustainable fisheries management, it’s inspiring to see these chefs raising their voices—alongside fishermen, seafood business owners, and scientists—urging Congress to ensure our fisheries and food systems remain sustainable for future generations.

Chef Rick Moonen of RM Seafood, center, took to Instagram to promote strong, science-based federal fisheries management.

Find participating chefs and restaurants in your state:

Learn more about the Aquarium’s work to tackle some of the most critical issues affecting ocean health.

Featured photo: Chef Steven Patlin’s sockeye salmon special, with the #ChefsForFish menu insert, at Wild Fish in Pacific Grove, California.

This blog post was updated on June 20, 2017 to feature images from chefs participating in the #ChefsForFish event.

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