When Torontonian Jaime Kearnan was eight years old, she experienced the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre for the first time during a family trip to the West Coast. During this visit she used a disposable camera to snap a shot of a dolphin jumping out of the water during a session with marine mammal trainers. It was this photo that sparked a passion and love for photography and marine life.

After completing a Biology degree, she was interested in combining her knowledge of science with her creative side and enrolled in the Environmental Visual Communications program (EVC). This unique post-graduate program created in conjunction with Fleming College and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) brings together the creative minds of environmentalists with multimedia.

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Chef Matt Dean Pettit preparing an Ocean Wise pickerel and Ontario peaches dish at a Colette Café media event.

It’s through the EVC program that Jaime connected with our Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise team and completed a practicum placement at our satellite office in Toronto. She wanted to work with Ocean Wise because she felt it was a unique program effecting positive change that would allow her to further explore her interests in ocean conservation.

Chef Patrick McMurray talking about the sustainability of oysters at the Seacore event hosted at Jackson Triggs winery this summer.

Chef Patrick McMurray talking about the sustainability of oysters at the Seacore event hosted at Jackson Triggs winery this summer.

Working alongside the Ocean Wise team during her placement, she produced four promotional videos featuring prominent and long-standing Ocean Wise partners in Toronto. Jaime met and interviewed Chef Brad Long of Café Belong, Co-owner David Owen of De La Mer fish market, Chef Matt Dean Pettit of Matty’s Seafood, and Chef Patrick McMurray of the Ceili Cottage. Though each partner had something different to say about the Ocean Wise program, what stood out for Jaime during these interviews was their shared passion for ocean conservation.

“They’re all such interesting people — so passionate about what they do and really interesting to talk to and listen to. I didn’t know them so I didn’t know what to expect. But what I was hoping to see, and what I found, was a passion for sourcing sustainable seafood and how much these people really do care about protecting our oceans.”

The videos Jaime created during her placement will be used to help teach other chefs and fishmongers about the Ocean Wise program. The videos help highlight the importance of starting conversations about sustainable seafood sourcing and inspiring positive changes in restaurants and on menus, ultimately leading to healthier aquatic ecosystems.

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Chef Matt Dean Pettit of Matty’s Seafood.

As Jaime puts it: “If you don’t know where it is coming from, you are eating something unknown and it separates you from the issues. As they say, ignorance is bliss. If you know where it comes from, it makes it more personal and makes the issues more real. Which, when it comes to sustainable seafood, is ultimately a good thing.”

Jaime, we could not agree with you more. Looking for the Ocean Wise symbol at a restaurant near you ensures that the seafood you are ordering is ocean-friendly and addresses issues related to overfishing and the conservation of our oceans.

Overfishing is the single biggest threat our oceans face today. With more than 675 partners across Canada, Ocean Wise makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable seafood choices that ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come. The Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item is the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. www.oceanwise.ca

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