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Slow Food Boston film this sunday and Boston’s first CSF

February 5, 2010

Happy Friday!

If you’re in the Boston area this weekend, I wanted to tell you about an event being put on by Slow Food Boston that could be interesting. As part of their annual film series, Slow Food Boston will be screening ‘The End of the Line‘ which explores our oceans, fish and the seafood industry. I do have to warn you that the film looks a bit gruesome, so it could be a little bit difficult to stomach. However, there will be an interesting panel and discussion after the film, with the founder of ‘Teach a Man to Fish,’ writer Jacqueline Church, Heather Tausig, director of conservation at the New England Aquarium and activist Niaz Dorry, who works with groups such as Cape Ann Fresh Catch and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. Details below:

Location : Posner Hall at Tufts University Friedman School, 200 Harrison Ave
Cost : $5
When : Sunday, 02/07/2010 3:30PM
(back home in time to watch the super bowl if you so wish!)

If you’re not up for the film due to some overly graphic scenes or you’re hosting a super bowl party, I totally understand, but I still want to share a few thoughts on sustainability and fish with you.

This past spring, Boston opened its doors to the first community-supported fishery (CSF) program, called Cape Ann Fresh Catch CSF. As you may have suspected, it follows the model of the more widespread CSA (community-supported agriculture), providing members with wild-caught flounder, haddock, hake, pollock, cod, redfish and grey sole. I think this idea is so cool, it makes completely sense. My only personal hesitation would be that I am not one to de-bone a fish. It’s just not my thing. But if you’ve got the skills (which you can also learn at demonstrations) then by all means, this seems like a fabulous program.

Edible Boston did an article recently on sustainable fish, and I thought a lot of their information was really interesting. Here is some more food for thought from that article: according to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, 2009 will be the first year that we will consume more farm-raised seafood than wild-caught. And why is that a little scary?

  • feed ratios are unsustainable (amount of wild-caught used to produce 1 lb of farm-raised can run as high as 20:1)
  • to control sea lice infestations, pesticides must be used in farm-raised fish
  • non-native species can escape ocean pens
  • wild juveniles are often caught too early to increase the farm stock
  • pollution of the oceans
  • destruction of habitat

So what can you do about all this? In edible Boston, they suggest that knowledge is power. They urge us, as consumers to ask questions such as . . . what type of fish is it? Where was it caught? How was it caught? Was it farmed, and how so? Is the fish vegetarian or carnivorous?

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Environmental Defense Fund and scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health have worked to put this list together to help clarify what consumers should be looking for and what is best to eat:

The BEST to eat

  • Albacore Tuna from the US or British Columbia that is troll or pole-caught
  • Mussels (farmed)
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • Pacific Sardines that are wild-caught
  • Pink Shrimp from Oregon that are wild-caught
  • Salmon from Alaska that is wild-caught
  • Spot Prawns from British Columbia that is wild-caught
  • Rainbow Trout that is farmed

So, phew . . . thanks for sticking with me while I throw this much information at you. If you’re anything like me, looking at the seafood department at Whole Foods or any other grocery store can be one of the most confusing activities in your entire weekend, so having this kind of information can help us as consumers become more aware.

Enjoy your weekends!

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