On the afternoon of May 9, more than 150 people gathered at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto with one common goal: to designate March 18 as National Sustainable Seafood Day. In collaboration with like-minded groups, including WWF Canada, SeaChoice, and Chefs for Oceans, we came together to spread the news: sustainable seafood matters to Canadians. This historic event fell on the eve of the Terroir Symposium, one of Ontario’s largest culinary events of the year that focuses on education, networking, and the sharing of collective resources in order to strengthen the hospitality industry as a whole. Without a doubt, sustainability and how it relates to seafood was the hot topic of conversation in Toronto, a city that prides itself on being one of Canada’s top foodie destinations.

A host of Ocean Wise™ partners came out in support including Kristin Donovan of Hooked, Martin Kouprie of Pangea and Jeff Crump from Bread Bar. Many crowded around world champion oyster shucker, Patrick McMurray of Ceili Cottage, to fill up on an assortment of freshly prepared clams and oysters generously donated by Seacore Seafood Inc.

National Sustainable Seafood Day Canada

Chef Jeff Crump of Bread Bar cooks up black cod for guests.

Rob Gentile of Buca made a stunning trout crudo with squid ink salt donated by Sustainable Blue. Our generous host and partner, Café Boulud of Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, teamed up to dish out Kuterra salmon with B.C cranberries, hazelnuts, and smoked Vancouver Island sea salt brine donated by Albion.

National Sustainable Seafood Day

Nigel Finley from The Chase tickled taste buds with his pan-seared pickerel with sweet corn and smoked tomatillo.

Great food and conversation paired nicely with an endless supply of Walter Caesars, Canada’s first Ocean Wise All-Natural Caesar mix and Beau’s All-Natural Brewing Company, which has been a dedicated sponsor of the Ocean Wise program in Ontario.

National Sustainable Seafood Day

Walter Caesar’s and Beau Beer are a perfect seafood pairing.

The afternoon continued with an inspirational speech by Fin Donnelly, the B.C. NDP MP who spearheaded this idea into action in front of Parliament. In it, Mr. Donnelly said we need Canadians to rally behind a day where we can celebrate fisheries from coast to coast. Alex and Tyler Mifflin, stars of the hit series, The Water Brothers, received thunderous applause after a gripping speech detailing their firsthand experiences with forward-thinking fishermen working towards a more sustainable future for our Canadian fisheries. (See their recent coverage of the world’s most sustainable seafood – seaweed.) Ned Bell, longstanding Ocean Wise supporter and founder of Chefs for Oceans, hammered home the message that sustainable fishing practices need to be at the forefront of consumers’ minds.

National Sustainable Seafood Day

Chef Ned Bell and MP Fin Donnelly pose for a photo in support of National Sustainable Seafood Day.

Canada is fortunate to border three oceans. The overwhelming support of the attendees is proof that Canadians want to celebrate our nation’s seafood industry and acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead in order to effect change. Although the successful implementation of this day remains a work in progress, we continue to raise awareness and build support nationwide. Please sign the petition and share this unified vision for a day to celebrate sustainability with your friends and family! We continue to celebrate our chefs, suppliers, farmers, and fishermen who work tirelessly to ensure the future of our Canadian fisheries is a bright and healthy one.

Ocean Wise sustainable seafood

Chefs, suppliers and NGO’s come together to work towards making National Sustainable Seafood Day a reality.

Overfishing is the greatest threat our oceans face today. Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ program works with chefs, restaurants, and retail and market partners across Canada to provide sustainable seafood options for consumers. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol for our assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. Learn more about Ocean Wise at oceanwise.ca.

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