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Legal Seafood, Culinary Guild "Blacklisted Fish" Dinner

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Legal Seafood and the Culinary Guild of New England have teamed up to host an educational dinner to teach diners about sustainable food.

"From the Press Release: Legal Sea Foods’ Roger Berkowitz Speaks on Sustainable Seafood

President/CEO Hosts Dinner of Supposed “Blacklisted” Fish

To Educate the Public on the Truth about Sustainable Fishing Practices

WHAT: The Culinary Guild of New England and Legal Seafoods co-sponsor an educational dining event to shed light on sustainable seafood. Legal Sea Foods’ President and CEO Roger Berkowitz presents a four-course dinner, followed by a discussion on the most current information concerning sustainable seafood fishing practices."

They're serving blacktail shrimp, cod cheeks, and hake. These are all fish that the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide has marked as avoid. Berkowitz says organizations like Monterey are wrong.

Maybe the fish that are being sourced for this particular dinner are 'green' and sustainable, but what sort of message is he sending? Science be damned? Figuring out what fish are ok is hard enough, does a dinner like this help or hurt?

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I think that there are always at least two sides to every story, so as far as helping to educate people, a dinner like this is very intriguing.

Legal has always promoted their organization as one which treats the seafood properly until it gets to the consumer, as well as treating the planet properly.

There's got to be a fair amount of interest - it's sold out. Here is the rest of the info from the Culinary Guild of new England:

Monday, January 24th, 2011 Sustainable Seafood at Legal Sea Foods at Park Square, Boston, MA

$90 for CGNE Members, $110 for Non-Members


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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But here's the rub: Legal may or may not be responsible in their sourcing (dig around..it's not all hunky dory), but aside from that, it very difficult to ascertain what fish is safe from where.

Hake, in general, is a no-no. Maybe Legal's hake is ok, but is he then sending a message that all hake is ok?

What does he base his claim on that Monterey & Blue Ocean are using outdated info? How so?

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To throw another wrinkle into the discussion, I think it's important to recognize that "sustainable" does not necessarily equal environmentally responsible.

I'm pretty sure that there is seafood being raised sustainably that causes damage to other species.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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When dealing with this kind of situation, the best bet is to look at the information provided for the species presented as 'sustainable'; if the chain of evidence, so to speak, is continuous, transparent, and confirmable, then I think it's fine to eat these things (with today's resources, this is simple and easy to determine). This does raise the question of a slippery slope, since many people are unlikely to care whether or not their food is raised sustainably: being able to say that it is is merely useful as a defence, should they get into an argument about their dinner, rather then being a matter of continuing to enjoy certain species in future (passenger pigeons, anyone?).

You've hit the nail on the head. The evidence is murky and conflicting. Monterey will say AVOID, Blue Ocean will say OK and if you are standing in front of the fishmonger, he's probably going to tell you what you want to hear.

It's virtually impossible to get this sort of info in Italy. When I went to Salone del Gusto in Torino this fall, I asked some of the tuna guys what the story was, and they basically told me not to worry my pretty little head.

This is why this dinner bothered me. There is already so little transparency and so much confusion and this dinner just adds to it

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