As some of you know, I live in Salisbury, Massachusetts, a town that was founded by my ancestor Henry True in 1630. Salisbury is located as far northeast in Massachusetts as far as you can go before you hit the Atlantic or New Hampshire.
Part of our school’s curriculum is a program titled New England and the Sea. This integrates all aspects of New England life. From sea businesses to the Industrial Revolution. Seafood is a very important industry to all of New England. The Atlantic is a commons, but one can see where it is being managed. As you drive down Rte 1 and look out over the ocean you can see the lobster pots. These are distinctly painted (for who owns them) and the same ones are in the same spot everyday. You do not mess with another person’s pots, ever!
Many sustainable enterprises have been popping up right here in New England. The Slow Food Movement has spurred people to buy local and grow their own. In Portsmouth, New Hampshire a festival was held by The Slow Fish campaign — an international effort to promote community-based fishing, raise consumer awareness of the value of “underloved” species of fish and create dialogue on the state of fisheries management. Really this was used to remind people that New England once fished and ate seasonally. The only problem that I see happening, as least in Portsmouth, is that the monetary costs associated with these events tends to be high. It seems to me that Portsmouth might have forgotten that these events are for all of the people and not just a select few!
In Stoughton, Massachusetts, James Tran an immigrant from Vietnam, grew up harvesting wild and farmed shrimp. After touring a shrimp farm in Nevada, Tran left the semiconductor world where he had worked as an electrical engineer. Sky 8, Tran’s company raises Pacific White Shrimp, Penaeus vannamei. The post larval shrimp are purchased from a Florida hatchery. They are grown in tanks That are six feet deep and 12 feet across, and hold about 6,000 shrimp apiece. The tanks are filled with seawater that is hauled in from the Atlantic and is kept at 88 degrees F. There is a biological filter called a Biofloc, a raised recirculating aquaculture system that only cleans a percentage of the water at a time. Thus leaving the water murky and close to a shrimp’s natural environment.
This was so new a venture that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had to create a new permit for them to begin business. The shrimp are sold fresh, straight from the water to the chefs.
Finally, a program that is at work in all of the oceans around the United States is SeaShare, which connects the seafood industry with the nation’s food bank network. The vast majority of our donated seafood comes from fisheries that are certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. Both SeaShare and the MSC are working to promote responsible utilization of our marine resources. The same stakeholders who support certified fisheries here in America also display a social responsibility – through their donations of time, materials, and dollars to SeaShare.
SeaShare’s donors are responsible stewards of our national resources, and they are important contributors in their communities. Together, we play a critical role in the context of seafood sustainability which is synonymous with the goals of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Central to this Code is the alleviation of food insecurity and addressing poverty. Section 6.2 of the Code reads “Fisheries management should promote the maintenance of the quality, diversity and availability of fishery resources in sufficient quantities for present and future generations in the context of food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable development”. SeaShare is one of the very best expressions of seafood sustainability.
Seafood Business, May 2013, Vol 23, No. 5, pg 40 – 46. http://seafoodbusiness.epubxp.com/i/123787
Seacoast Online http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20130915-NEWS-309150348
- Sustainable Meat: 6 Secrets for Seafood Lovers (sierraclub.typepad.com)