Innovators: LAUNCHING SLOW FISH CANADA

FISHERIES GUEST ARTICLES

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Excerpt from longer article by Sarah Ebel and Dave Adler published by Halifax Media Corp. (URL http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/blog/editor/20398)
 

LAUNCHING SLOW FISH CANADA

added on December 17, 2013 @ 12:06pm by wade

Surprisingly new to Canada, Slow Fish Canada formed officially last spring as a national campaign of Slow Food Canada. A small group of fisheries advocates across the country worked together to designate October as Slow Fish Month. This involved hosting events from St. John’s to Vancouver Island. From local seafood dinners and community conversations, to educational talks by fisheries scientists, to film screenings and cooking workshops, no two events were the same. But they all centred around a common theme:  the importance of sustainable small-scale fishing in Canada.

 

Surprisingly new to Canada, Slow Fish Canadaformed officially last spring as a national campaign of Slow Food Canada. A small (but mighty) group of fisheries advocates across the country worked together to designate October as Slow Fish Month. This involved hosting a dazzling array of events from Saint John’s to Vancouver Island. From local seafood dinners and community conversations, to educational talks by fisheries scientists, to film screenings and cooking workshops, no two events were the same. But they all centred around a common theme:  the importance of sustainable small-scale fishing in Canada.

 

Slow Fish Month kicked off in St. John’s Newfoundland. After five days of talks and panel discussions aimed largely at global seafood commodity markets at the World Seafood Congress, a Slow Fish dinner and community discussion was a welcomed reprieve for those engaged in local, small-scale fisheries. Co-hosted by Too Big to Ignore, the Ecology Action Centre and Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador, the event created a space for discussions about sustainability, local seafood access, and prospects for small-scale fisheries and coastal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

Held in The Rocket Room, Chef Darryl Hammond’s menu  included Artic char from Nain, cod from Placentia Bay, snow crab from the Southern Shore, and salt cod fish cakes. After the meal, Susanna Fuller of the Ecology Action Centre, asked, “How do we de-commodify fish, and fishermen? We are extremely lucky to have 10,000 owner-operator fishermen in Atlantic Canada. It’s like having 10,000 small businesses who work and live in our communities. We have to start thinking about how we support them, and how our support leads to stewardship of our oceans.”

 

Tom Best, a fisherman and president of the Petty Harbour Cooperative also highlighted the importance of our small-scale fisheries. He shared an inspiring story about how small-scale fishermen and workers in the coop have been able to incorporate a conservation mindset into a successful cooperative business that has been catching, processing, and selling sustainable local seafood for many years.

 

Slow Fish Canada has compiled a handy guide to celebrating Good, Clean & Fair Fish in your community:

 

GOOD:

  • Choose fresh and traceable seafood.
  • Celebrate small-scale producers.
  • Broaden your seafood tastes: consider lesser known and undervalued species.
  • Choose species from lower down the food chain.
  • Eat seafood that is in season and is of mature size.

 

CLEAN:

  • Seek out seafood that has been sustainably harvested.
  • Choose seafood that has been processed locally.
  • Choose whole seafood when possible and minimize waste.
  • Choose fisheries with low carbon footprints.

 

FAIR:

  • Expect to pay a higher price for sustainably harvested seafood.
  • Support fisheries with transparent pricing all the way up the value chain.
  • Support local fishing communities and processors.
  • Support gender equity and safe working conditions in fisheries.
  • Support low volume, high value fisheries, not high volume, low value ones.

 

Dave Adler works with Off the Hook Community Supported Fishery and has been plotting with fishermen, chefs, processors, retailers, and freezer manufacturers to help build a sustainable value chain for Nova Scotia’s best seafood. Sarah Ebel is a fisheries outreach specialist working on an internship with Slow Fish Canada.