This weekend, Slow Fish – Slow Food’s international campaign for sustainable fishing – will be officially launched in the US.
The launch will see a series of events taking place, starting on September 14 during the annual Fishtival event in New Hampshire. It will include activities such as the first ever youth-led Seafood Throwdown: a unique cooking competition to highlight the importance of local seafood in restoring a healthy ocean ecosystem. Inspired by the TV program, Iron-Chef, two young chefs will compete to see who can prepare the best locally caught seafood dish using items from the local farmers' market.
Others events taking place will be a documentary film screening, a fish filleting demonstration and workshop, and a ‘Merroir Manifesto' community discussion.
The local community - fishers, chefs, youth, local sea and land organizations, and consumers - will come together throughout the weekend to discuss key questions such as: Why and how should we embrace local community-based fishing? How can we begin bridging the gap between consumers and community fishers? How can we improve policy to assure long-term vitality of family-owned fisheries? How can we inspire more chefs to begin working with locally caught seafood?
"We're really excited to help bring Slow Fish to New Hampshire and the US where our fishing families are facing extreme challenges. Over 90% of the seafood the public consumes is imported and yet our fleet catches more than enough to feed everyone. We need to reconnect to the seasonality of fishing and let consumers know that there are plenty of healthy, abundant and delicious fish species right in our backyard," says Padi Anderson, member of the Fishtival planning committee and co-owner of Rimrack Fisheries, a family-owned and operated fishing business (find more here).
The Slow Fish campaign works to promote community-based fishing, raise consumer awareness on the value of ‘underloved' species of fish and create dialogue on the state of fisheries management. As organizer of the program and coordinator of the USA Slow Food Youth Network, Spencer Montgomery, explains, ‘underloved’ species of fish are those that community fishers pull up in their nets but struggle to find any local market value for. They are either discarded or sold to foreign buyers halfway around the world.
"The Slow Fish campaign could not come at a more critical time. Our source of food from the ocean is in danger of being taken over by industrial food production models like agribusiness and with that our marine environment is endangered," says Brett Tolley of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. "Based on everything we've learned about our land-based food system over the past few decades, we know industrialization will endanger our environment, biodiversity, food safety, food sovereignty and food security as well as the economic and social fabric of fishing communities."
It’s time to get together and discuss these problems in the same boat.
Find the full program and more about the partners here.
Learn all about Slow Fish at www.slowfood.com/slowfish