On odd years since 2005, members and followers of the Slow Food network have set sail for Genoa, for Slow Fish, the biennial fair aimed at promoting sustainable and responsible fishing and a better seafood industry.
The event attracts around 50,000 participants per year and has recently sparked a surge in international events as Slow Food supporters host local events for the fishing communities near them. Just last week Tunisia hosted representatives from Algeria, Italy, and Morocco for its Slow Fish fair, and this week we look forward to Slow Fish San Francisco!
This is not the first Slow Fish event to be held stateside, with New Orleans taking that honor in 2016. The Louisiana event, funded in part by organizing feasts made up of the sort of seafood normally treated as “unwanted bycatch”, was a forum allowing members of the fishing community in the USA to shed light on the challenges that they face and the changes that need to be made in order to keep fishing sustainable and viable. Despite wild weather, the event was undoubtedly a great success, spurring the calls for a second round, with an eye to a more long-term plan.
So, as the second instalment of Slow Fish USA heads west to the golden state, it carries with it the same philosophy and desire to drive towards a better future for fishing. Among the stated aims of the event this year, is the desire to make the Slow Fish USA conference a regular event, falling on even years to alternate with its already established predecessor in Genoa.
The reach of Slow Fish, beyond the events of this weekend, is aimed on two levels. First, the aim of Slow Food is to push for action within the industry, calling for changes from producers, and supporting those producers and organizations which are dedicated to sustainable seafood. Provoking change at this level and demanding more responsibility from producers and suppliers, is a crucial element required for a broad impact. On the other hand, Slow Fish is committed to informing and inciting consumers to adopt a more sustainable approach to their consumption of seafood. For this, organizers plan to create a clear and practical set of guidelines to help consumers understand and align with the values of Slow Fish and the Slow Food movement in general. All of the presentations at the conference (and all future conferences) will be documented, and accessible for free, providing a bank of information about Slow Fish and its work, available to all.
The proceedings start with a bang on Saturday, as local chefs battle to create the best dish from a mystery “catch of the day”, followed by an oyster party to formally inaugurate the event and welcome the participants and attendees. Both Sunday and Monday will be filled with panels and meetings, discussing sustainable fishing practices, and action for the future. The talks will include first-hand input and stories from those in the fishing industry and provide insight into the challenges and hopes as seen ‘from the helm’. A dinner and storytelling event will round out the Sunday, while Monday’s activities will conclude with a dinner and film screening. You can see the whole program and get tickets here but act soon because the places for special events are going fast, with some already booked out!
Slow Food San Francisco believes in the vitality and importance of a working waterfront, community supported fisheries, and transparency in seafood. Join now and be a part of the Slow Food Revolution.