Slow Food

Inauguration of Slow Fish 2007: Focus on the Environment

Italy - 04 May 07

The third edition of Slow Food’s biennial fair dedicated to the world of fishing, organized in collaboration with the Region of Liguria, was inaugurated today at the Fiera di Genova, Piazzale Kennedy 1. Slow Fish, held May 4-7, includes conferences, meetings, workshops and tastings, seeking to explore the concept of sustainable fishing, educate the public, analyze the problems and look forward to what can be done to save our seas. The speeches during the inauguration were marked by a strong sense of urgency and a constant return to the crucial themes of climate change, the global decline in fish stocks and the increasing pollution and degradation of the world’s oceans, seas and rivers. Introducing the speakers was Roberto Burdese, President of Slow Food Italy. He underlined the key Slow Food concept of Good, Clean and Fair: food must not only taste good but also be produced in a way which is clean for nature and fair for producers. This concept is reflected in the important integration within Slow Fish itself of gastronomic culture and a focus on environmental and social issues. Burdese explained that Slow Fish was divided into three thematic areas: Slow Food Promotes, with markets and a showcase of regional cuisines, as well as Slow Food Protects, focusing on the Presidia and Terra Madre communities linked to fish, and Slow Food Educates, with activities for young people and adults, Taste Workshops, seminars and conferences. The President of the Region of Liguria, Claudio Burlando, also highlighted how the issue of the environment dominates Slow Fish. “Slow Food puts the theme of protecting our seas and rivers at the center,” he said, “within the context of quality seafood production. Slow Food’s attention to the quality of food is completely shared by the Region of Liguria.” The geographic particularities of Liguria make it reliant on small-scale agriculture and fishing which reflects the region’s identity and traditions, as represented by the Presidia, he said. Slow Food’s President, Carlo Petrini, then spoke with great passion. He emphasized that we are living in a situation of emergency, and that we must realize that rights are due not only to humans but also to the earth, the sea, rivers, animals and plants. When the first Slow Fish was proposed four years ago, he said, there was general doubt at the concept of a fair bringing together commerce and ethics. They have now been reconciled, he said, and gastronomy has been put to the service of protecting the environment and society. “The local economy will save the planet,” he said; a new kind of economy and a society which understands the concepts of limits, which is not about denial or gluttony, but harmonizing the rhythms of the planet with the use of its resources, agriculture, fishing and energy production. If we follow this path we will enter an era of understanding and joy, and finally realize that the sun is more important than the oil sheiks. “I hope that in Genoa, with Slow Fish, this message will be clear,” he concluded. The last to speak was Paolo De Castro, Italian Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies. He spoke about the great challenge of organizing a meeting in Genoa in 2008 of all the European ministers for fishing to discuss the problems facing the health of the sea, and said that he accepted that challenge. Thus the inauguration concluded with a look forward to the future and what can be done to help save the planet from the environmental crisis it is facing. Also speaking at the inauguration were Marina Dondero, Councillor for Agriculture for the Province of Genoa; Giuseppe Pericu, Mayor of the City of Genoa; Pierluigi Vinai, Vice President of the Fondazione Carige; Paolo Odone, President of the Genoa Chamber of Commerce and Paolo Lombardi, President of the Fiera di Genova.