Hotels, environment groups to promote sustainable seafood

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - In a bid to help save overfished Philippine seas, Manila’s top hotels and restaurants have united with environmental and fisherfolk groups to declare their support for the promotion of sustainable seafood.

Meik Brammer, executive chef of Manila Marriott Hotel, said, “Our commitment is part of a global effort to sustain fisheries resources and protect our oceans, with the recognition that our restaurants and hotels have the responsibility and the power to address this issue from a direct supply chain.”

Manila Marriott Hotel is one of several establishments supporting Greenpeace in its campaign to protect the marine environment from overfishing, a result of decades of unsustainable fishing practices.

Michelle Garcia, Marriott Hotel Manila marketing and communications director, said that the hotel has long been supporting efforts to protect the seas and promote sustainable seafood. “It’s been a year-round advocacy for us. We are, in fact, sourcing our seafood needs locally. No imported supply for the hotel’s menu for now.”

She explained that they are highlighting in their menu the seafood they serve such as fish, shrimps, etc. are the produce of local fishermen.

“Another thing is that this coming February, we will be dedicating a portion of our sales to the fisherfolk groups to somehow help them out,” Garcia pointed out.

Meanwhile, Christian Schmidradner, general manager of Meliomar Inc., said, “The urgent need and commitment towards fully traceable, legal, sustainable and socially responsible seafood cannot be overemphasized.”

He added, “Sustainable seafood requires a long-term, dedicated approach by all players along seafood supply chains.”

Meliomar Inc. in the Philippines is owned by the Swiss company Blueyou, whose mission is to be at the forefront of transforming global seafood production towards a more sustainable future. Meliomar Inc. is the Philippine part of a Blueyou program called Artesmar, a unique initiative for fishery improvement, dedicated to artisanal small-scale fisheries worldwide.

These groups are organizing a “Sustainable Seafood Week” in February 2016 in cooperation with Greenpeace and other organizations. Seafood Week is envisioned “to establish an open and dynamic platform for interested stakeholders to discuss the status, challenges and awareness for more sustainable seafood in the Philippines, focusing on local solutions for change and reform in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.”

“The Sustainable Seafood Week shall become our main tool for the facilitation of change, to learn from experiences of others and to monitor improvements over time,” Schmidradner said.

For its part, Greenpeace said, “With more than 90 percent of fish stocks in the Philippines being overexploited or depleted, and destructive and illegal fishing wreaking havoc on the marine environment, returns per catch are at the lowest level ever recorded.

Similarly, many aquaculture operations use unsustainable sources of feed and pollute aquatic ecosystems with chemicals and antibiotics.”

Now more than ever, the group added, restaurants and hotel groups recognize their increasing responsibility to procure from sustainable sources and to educate their consumers about the need for sustainable seafood.

Vince Cinches, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines, said, “By taking on the responsibility of sourcing and serving traceable, sustainable and equitable seafood, the hotel and restaurant industry is demonstrating the viability of sustainable seafood which not only benefits local communities, but also helps conserve and protect our fragile marine ecosystems.”

“We call on the rest of the industry to ease out overfishing, wasteful fishing and destructive fishing practices that accidentally catch sharks and turtles by cleaning up their menu and serving only traceable and sustainable seafood,” he added.

Cinches said raising consumer awareness and moving the country’s seafood industry toward greater sustainability are urgently required to help reverse fisheries decline.












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