Posts Tagged ‘healthy diet’

Trace and Trust Southern California at Sea Fare 2011

Thursday, October 13th, 2011


We are so excited to debut Trace and Trust™ Southern California at the Aquarium’s 8th annual Sea Fare fundraising event this Saturday, October 15, 2011!


Trace and Trust™ is a network of fishermen, distributors, processors, and restaurants committed to providing full seafood supply transparency by telling consumers exactly who caught their seafood, as well as when, where, and how it was caught. The concept was first tested in Rhode Island, where local fishermen and chefs regularly use Trace and Trust.  As Chef Beau Vestal of New Rivers Bistro explained in The Providence Journal,


“It has kind of made me wonder, what have I been buying all these years? The advantages as far as quality goes are night and day. Before, I had no sense of when and where it was caught and stored…(Now)…I [am] cutting fish that was in the water eight hours ago. You just kind of pinch yourself. I always tell my young cooks, remember this. There’s no way you’re going to get better quality.”


Chef Michael Poompan of Renaissance Long Beach & SIP Lounge


Chef Michael Poompan of SIP at the Renaissance in Long Beach will be serving fresh caught Uni, supplied by Santa Barbara Fisherwoman Stephanie Mutz, with Anson Mills grits from organic heirloom grains and fresh herbs. The Trace and Trust site featuring Stephanie’s vessel and landing information will be on display at the SIP booth along with the QR code that is also linked to Stephanie’s information on the site.


Trace and Trust was created as a pilot program in 2010 by the Cap Log Group, a small consulting company based in Davis, CA, after many meetings with experienced fishermen and dedicated chefs about how to help the fishermen benefit from the tremendous care and pride they take in landing their products.


Seafood for the Future learned about the program and its great success in Rhode Island and wanted to bring that high quality to chefs, transparency to consumers, and success to the fishermen in Southern California. We feel that this program can reward fishermen with a higher price return, chefs with a fresh, higher quality product, and the consumer for choosing local, sustainable seafood by showing them the men and women their choice is directly supporting.  


“I am involved in the Trace and Trust project so I can connect directly with my community.  We need to get back to having a relationship with your food harvesters to know where you food comes from and how it is harvested.  It also makes me, as a fisherman, more accountable for my product so I consistently get quality product. Knowing first hand how my seafood was prepared and enjoyed, and knowing none of it went to waste is important to me,” agreed fisherwoman Stephanie Mutz, owner of Sea Stephanie Fish and President of her local fishermen’s association Commerical Fishermen of Santa Barbara.


Fisherwoman Stephanie Mutz with her freshly caught Sea Urchin in Santa Barbara


Join us at Sea Fare this weekend to share in the debut of this fantastic program and support our local fishermen!




Sea Fare is the Aquarium of the Pacific’s largest annual fundraising event. Guests enjoy live music, silent and live auctions, the ever-popular “Go Fish” opportunity game, and experience the cuisines of more than 30 restaurants including 11 Seafood for the Future partners. Tickets are $100 and all proceeds benefit the Aquarium and its inhabitants. For tickets to Sea Fare 2011 to:

Where do I purchase seafood in Southern California?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

With recent media coverage over mis-labeling, the question we are asked most frequently here at Seafood for the Future is “Where can I purchase seafood that I can trust to be well-managed, correctly labeled, AND fresh?”

Today, yet another article raising concerns over seafood mis-labeling was published by Time Magazine entitled, “Fish Labeled as Eco-Friendly Chilean Sea Bass May Not Be”. Consumers have been told that if they cannot live without their beloved Patagonian Toothfish (aka Chilean Sea Bass), that they were in luck! A fishery off the coast of South Georgia Island was evaluated and deemed sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council or (MSC). However, a study by Peter Marko, a professor of biological sciences at Clemson University, took samples of the fish in 2008 and compared it with 2001 fish samples. His findings were as follows:

“…according to DNA analysis by Clemson University researchers, 15% of Chilean sea bass labeled as sustainable and sold at U.S. grocers did not come from the certified fishery. What’s more, 8% of sustainable Chilean sea bass were of a different species entirely.”

There could be several reasons for these findings, but this study indicates that over 20% of the MSC certified Chilean Sea Bass sampled was not MSC Certified Chilean Sea Bass. This article is merely the cherry on top of a summer sundae filled with giant scoops of alarming seafood concerns. What’s most troubling for us here at Seafood for the Future is that people are already confused about seafood sustainability, mercury content, whether fish-farming is good or bad, and now they don’t even know if they’ve really been eating $30 tilapia all this time.  When findings suggest that even MSC Certified fish isn’t safe from the seafood market’s apparent love affair with mis-labeling, it can dissuade even those who really enjoy seafood from getting their recommended serving. We want to be clear, we do not believe this information discredits MSC, MSC has put checks and regulations in place to prevent this from happening. However, it’s obvious from reports surfacing this summer that mis-labeling is rampant in the market itself. It is just an excellent reminder to diversify the types of seafood you eat and learn about fishery management and responsible farming practices. When you learn what makes a fishery or a farm well-managed, you can begin to do your own due diligence and decide what qualifies as sustainable in your book.

It’s official, seafood is the new milk. And it does a body even better - if you’ve been keeping up with us on Facebook or on Twitter you know that among the health benefits of consuming Omega-3s are reduced inflammation, reduced anxiety, higher brain function, and superior cardiovascular health.

So, what’s a sustainable seafood lover and Omega-3 enthusiast to do?

1)  Eat Seafood! 

No we’re not crazy, seafood is just too important for your health not to! In fact, we know that if you’re the average American, you probably aren’t eating enough seafood.  According to the American Heart Association, you should consume seafood at least twice a week. Another great website for tracking your seafood consumption and seeing the benefits of your seafood choices is How Much Fish.

2)  Do your homework.

Check out our Recommendations. Diversify the types of seafood you eat. If you like one type of seafood, chances are there is another one you’ll love. Learn about responsibly farmed seafood and ask for them by name. Research your favorite types of fish. What do they look like whole? What does a fillet look like? Where does it typically come from? Ask your fishmonger these questions and inspect the fish yourself. At the very least, your vendor should be able to tell you whether the fish was wild or farmed and where it is from. If something seems fishy, skip your first choice and test them on another fish. If something still seems fishy, it’s probably time for a new, more informative vendor. 

3) Buy from reputable sellers.

In Southern California, we have 3 recommendations that are completely worth the trip! 

Our first pick is Santa Monica Seafood. They have 2 retail locations – Santa Monica and Costa Mesa. They’ve addressed mis-labeling head-on on their blog. What’s more is that you’ll be in the good company of the discerning chefs and purchasers behind these very reputable establishments. As Santa Monica Seafood’s blog on seafood mis-labeling mentions, chefs often know more about the characteristics of seafood than consumers like you and me. The same fish you can dine on at the Ritz Carlton or Le Monde by Joel Robuchon can be on your dining room table tonight. Plus, we at SFF have worked with the VP of Purchasing at Santa Monica Seafood. He is very active in the sustainable seafood community, an ardent advocate for community supported fisheries, practically a walking encyclopedia of fish, and is probably going to say we were too kind in writing this. You’d be hard pressed to find a more trustworthy seafood supplier with two convenient locations in Southern California and so many high quality options to choose from. If it’s a weeknight and you’re totally pooped from work, they’ll even cook it for you!

If you’re in LA, McCall’s Meat & Fish is another top-notch place to pick up the latest and greatest in the highest quality, locally sourced and responsibly farmed seafood. Nathan McCall hand selects all of their fish and it is so unbelievably fresh that every week there is a brand new offering of fish in their seafood case. You can keep up with their weekly offerings on their Facebook page before making the trip to Los Feliz. Speaking from experience, you can ask Chef Nathan 100 questions about the seafood and he’ll have the answer for every one. If you are an omnivore, good luck trying to escape without surf AND turf! The meats are sourced as meticulously as the fish and Nathan probably has to wipe drool from the front of the case several times a day.

We love a good farmers’ market. The sights, sounds, smells, and the happy feelings evoked from supporting our local farmers are just too much for us to resist. We especially love Orange Home Grown and the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. You might run into some of our partner restaurant chefs like Chef Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub picking up produce on Saturday morning at Orange Home Grown. You’ll also find one our Branded Products partners Carlsbad Aquafarm selling their mussels and oysters directly to the public at both of these amazing markets. If you haven’t had an opportunity to try their shellfish, the good folks at Carlsbad Aquafarm will happily give you a sample at the market!

4) Stay tuned to our Seafood for the Future updates. We want to help you fight mis-labeling, so we’ll start a chef/purchasing series giving you advise on how to be a discerning fish buyer! Let us know which fish you need help with & we’ll be sure to get it covered together with our network of responsible chefs and distributors.

Seafood for the Future

What not to eat

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Peanut-butter-labelI will rarely take the negative perspective on this blog where food is concerned.  However, this post is written in response to the advice that fish should be avoided entirely in order to circumvent the whole sticky issue of sustainable seafood.  Let me explain why this is not a good idea, and how sustainable seafood issues fit into a much larger conversation about the food we eat and where it comes from.

The eat-no-seafood approach implies that stopping the consumption of fish will lead to the restoration of ocean health, at least where fisheries are concerned.  This ignores the fact that fisheries are affected by more than just overfishing.  Habitat loss, climate change, ocean “acidification,” dead zones, pollutants, and eutrophication all contribute to the decline in marine diversity and ecosystem health.  The underlying cause of declining ocean health is not dietary consumption, but the dramatic increase in human population in conjunction with a per capita increase in use of natural resources.

Not only are there several billion more of us than in our grandparents’ heyday, but we all use much more water, energy, refined metals, and fossil fuels.  This is not just a problem – this is the problem.  To those who propose that we eat fewer fish, may I suggest instead that we all have fewer babies.*  And, of course, simplify our habits of material consumption.

For example, salmon runs in Northern California have been so drastically reduced that the 2009 salmon season will be 10 days of recreational fishing in early September, with no commercial fishing whatsoever.  Although the conservation efforts are couched in terms of saving the fishery for the fishing industry, even the Department of Fish and Game acknowledges that many factors affect the number of returning fish, including the watershed and ocean temperatures.  Cod and Atlantic salmon have not recovered from commercial extinction even with fishing moratoriums in place.  Neither have a number of other fisheries rebounded under strict management and controlled mortality.  Simply removing seafood like this from the menus won’t save declining numbers of fish unless we are protecting the habitat that allows them to reproduce.

Furthermore, reducing seafood consumption will have consequences for already poor dietary health of Americans.  The importance of omega-3 fatty acids has been seriously understated in American health and diet education.  How do we determine the importance of any one dietary item like omega-3 fatty acids?  There are at least three different types of evidence required to make a convincing connection:  1. epidemiological studies in humans that correlate effects with dietary habits, 2. biochemical explanations of the molecular pathways involved, and 3. studies in model organisms such as rats and mice that show the effects of a controlled diet in closely related mammals.  In the case of omega-3 fatty acids, all three types of research demonstrate that omega-3 fatty acids have an important role in mitigating physiological stress.

And if, as we contend, there is a lack of adequate omega-3 fatty acids in the Western diet, do we see a corresponding effect in the health of the population?  Yes.  As noted in the previous jump, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to mitigate 6 out of the top 7 leading causes of death in the US: coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.  (Number 5 of 7 is accidental death.)  Certainly, there are many other factors that contribute to poor diet and health in America.  But the danger in recommending the removal of seafood from the already-suffering American diet is that the diseases above that are well correlated with inadequate omega-3 intake will become even more prevalent.  It is not an exaggeration to say that  investment in the wise use of our fisheries is an investment in our own future and our health.

There are a number of papers that support these ideas (e.g., Simopoulos ratio, Essential fatty acids in aquatic ecosystems), tapping into the theory that our current dietary needs reflect the types of foods that were available as humans evolved.  Knowing this, a moderate amount of common sense can be applied to come up with a list of things that truly should not be eaten.  Cheetos and Twizzlers, for example.  I am hardly one of your crunchy activists who can claim to live off of tofu, but there are a number of ingredients that I would advise people to avoid:


Trans fats (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils)

Refined sugars and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Artificial sweeteners

Genetically modified crops that have not been tested for safety (that would be all of them)

We could go into the scientific literature to explore each one of these, but for our purposes it should be sufficient to say that humans should eat what our bodies were designed to use.  Seafood included.  Our healthcare system will thank you.

If you blanched at the thought of giving up Cheetos and Diet Coke, you can thank the modern advertising industry for changing our ideas about what normal human food is.  That is lesson number two: people who are selling you something should not be the ones to tell you what to eat.  At the top of this post, you can see that the jar of peanut butter that says, “No Trans Fats” must qualify that statement to mean “per serving.”  Companies that use trans fats in their products now reduce the serving size on the label so that they can round down the advertised trans fat content to zero.  Your heart and waistline pay for this deliberate obfuscation.

That’s hardly the most insidious tactic out there.  If you haven’t seen The Future of Food, I highly recommend that you watch it.  I don’t care if you are the most conservative industrialist – if you aren’t absolutely shocked within the first five minutes, I will eat my hat (but still not Cheetos).

*Until the world is ready to have a conversation on human reproductive rights, there is a simple strategy to slow the progress of human population growth: encourage higher education for women worldwide.  To quote Slobodkin, “…in an animal like man, in which the litter size is normally one, the number of births per female lifetime is in general of less significance in determining the reproductive potential of the population than is the age at initial reproduction.” – Slobodkin, L. B.  Growth and Regulation of Animal Populations.  Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1961.