Tuesday, March 13, 2012
International Boston Seafood Show: How A Restaurant Becomes Sustainable
Attendees of the 2012 International Boston Seafood Show (IBSS) were provided some suggestions at a conference entitled: Implementing a Sustainable Seafood Program for your Restaurant-How to Navigate through the Sea of Conflicting NGO Information. Don't let the lengthy title throw you off, as it was a basic guide to the types of questions and actions a restaurant needs to consider if they wish to become sustainable. The conference was large on generalities and short on specific details, but it was only intended to be an overview and not an intense and detailed seminar.
The suggestions and advice were provided through the lens of two primary individuals. First, Jim Ulcickas, the co-founder of the Bluewater Grill, shared his own personal experiences with trying to create a seafood sustainability program. Currently, greater than 90% of the restaurant's offerings are sustainably caught or certified by respected Seafood Industry NGO’s. He is not resting on his laurels and is trying to move towards 100% compliance. Second, Emma McLaren, of Emma McLaren Consulting, works as a sustainable seafood consultant and shared some of her own insights into this issue.
A Five Step Program was then introduced, to be a general guide to proceeding down the sustainability path. The steps are very general, and the path will be largely determined by how the restaurant answers certain questions. For assistance, the contact information and description of a number of online and offline resources were distributed to the attendees to help with the five step program. Emma also consults to the restaurant industry and can be hired if a restaurant is having difficulty.
I think these suggestions might help some restaurant owners understand all that goes into creating a seafood sustainability program. Planning is obviously crucial, and every step needs to be a learning process, gathering information, making decisions. Strangely enough, most of the attendees were not restaurant owners so I am unsure how much value everyone else found in this conference. It does show the burdens of a restaurant trying to be sustainable so maybe it is a valuable insight for some. Maybe next year they could do a more advanced conference for restaurant owners.