New Mexico Seafood Supplier Champions Seafood Sustainability in Albuquerque Area

June 3, 2010 11:34

Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico's commitment to the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) seafood sustainability program led them to become the first seafood supplier in the state to be MSC-certified and now they are also playing a leadership role in assisting other partners and merchants with obtaining MSC Chain of Custody certification.  Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico recently assisted five area restaurants and a natural foods grocer in becoming MSC certified.  The certification assures consumers that MSC-certified seafood can be traced back through the entire supply chain to a sustainable, well-managed fishery.  Once certified, a business can apply to display MSC's internationally recognized blue ecolabel, reports with reference to MSC.

With Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico's commitment and leadership it quickly became evident to Albuquerque Executive Chefs Mike von Blumberg, Seasons Rotisserie & Grill; Chris Pope, Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro; Bob Peterson, Savoy Bar & Grill; Chad Bray, Pelican's Restaurant West Side; and Robert Diaz, Pelican's of Albuquerque, that participation in MSC's program is not just good for the world's oceans, it is a sound and sustainable business decision that consumers have embraced. These five restaurants, along with Cid's Food Market in Taos, have become MSC certified.

 "Our company believes that MSC certification is not just an investment in sustainable fisheries, but one of many business practices which will sustain our business for future generations. The future health of the oceans and its bounty of seafood will be determined by the fish management practices we support today and the fish purchasing decisions our customers and consumers make," said Craig Risk, president and CEO of Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico.

Albuquerque is known as a city that is deeply committed to environmental awareness and action, and one local leader said it is no surprise that this type of new environmental initiative would come from the business community.  "We care about our community, our country and our ability to provide seafood for future generations," said Carol Wight, CEO of the New Mexico Restaurant Association.  "With leadership from the Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico and these local businesses, we have started what we all hope will become a trend in business and a demand by consumers for nothing less than MSC certification, the world's leading seafood sustainability certification program."

"The Marine Stewardship Council is excited to have Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico and the six New Mexico businesses participating in the program, because it demonstrates strong leadership in sourcing sustainable seafood," said Kerry Coughlin, MSC regional director, Americas.  She noted that these businesses include top chefs whose participation will send a powerful message to other businesses and to consumers.  "When consumers support businesses that offer MSC-certified seafood, they are making a commitment that directly supports sustainable seafood," Coughlin said.

The Albuquerque-area businesses receiving MSC Chain of Custody certification said the investment will benefit their businesses because it demonstrates they are committed to seafood sustainability.
What the chefs and business leaders say

Robert Diaz, owner of Pelican's, commented: "We have enjoyed over 20 years of success in Albuquerque and envision another 20 years. Providing our guests with sustainable seafood choices is and will be a part of our commitment to sustainable fisheries. The MSC has the most comprehensive program which allows full transparency from fishery to our guest's dining enjoyment." With two locations in Albuquerque, Pelicans has been voted the number one seafood restaurant on numerous occasions by local residents. 

Christopher Pope, partner in Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro, said:  "Why did we choose MSC? It's about doing the right thing. As part of our continued philosophy to use local products and our efforts at recycling, we felt this was yet another step in improving our products and ensuring that there will be seafood available for coming generations. We have discerning diners and believe with the right education and public awareness that our guests will also do the right thing and respect our restaurant all the more for the commitment we are making." Zinc is devoted to promoting the connection between food and wine and committed to trying to make it accessible and affordable for the mainstream diner.

Bob Peterson, executive chef, Savoy Bar & Grill, remarked:  "The challenge at Savoy always has been to produce uncompromising quality.  The MSC program helps us attain that goal with a very important benefit, sustainability.  Having grown up on the water and fished my whole life, I have seen firsthand the depletion of our ocean resources and the effect it has had on coastal fishing communities.  It is wonderful to have the MSC standard in place that gives us a way to help ensure that we will have the resource for years to come."

Michael von Bloomberg, executive chef, Seasons Rotisserie & Grill, said: "At Seasons we've been on the cutting edge of national food trends for years.  One of the unique things we do locally is educate our guests through the knowledge of our service staff about important issues like seafood sustainability.   The MSC program has received a very positive response from our guests.  Usually the question is asked, ‘Tell me more!  What a great program!'"

Brett Robertson, market manager, Cid's Food Market - Taos, New Mexico, said: "By supporting the MSC and becoming MSC Chain of Custody certified, we at Cid's Food Market are continuing our mission of providing sustainable foods to our customers."  Cid's Food Market is a locally-owned, natural foods supermarket that has been selling natural and organic foods to the Taos community for the past 24 years. Cid's has won numerous awards in Taos for best grocery store, best produce, and best customer service.

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