What better way to celebrate a Canadian sustainable seafood icon than by having those who admire him most say a few kind words…or many!

The Order of Canada is one of the highest civilian honours, recognizing individuals for outstanding achievements, dedication to their communities, and service to the nation.

Rob Clark was appointed to the Order of Canada in November 2020 “for establishing a world-renowned program to help businesses and customers identify and purchase sustainable seafood.” He is a chef, author, co-founder of the Ocean Wise Seafood program, and co-owner of The Fish Counter

This blog is a summary of Ocean Wise Seafood staff as well as chefs who have been inspired by Rob Clark’s actions throughout the years and continue to support the work he started in 2005.

To be true to your own values is one thing. To start a national movement based on those values is another. Rob Clark has done both. Around the time that many chefs and diners were getting excited about kale salad, Rob began asking questions about a food system rarely considered: capture fisheries. Where was this fish from? What gear was it caught with? And, instead of giving up when he couldn’t get these answers from seafood suppliers, he sought help from a different source: marine biologist Mike McDermid. The rest is history. From the start of Ocean Wise Seafood, our program has continued to partner with the restaurant industry and rely on science for our sustainability recommendations. At the same time, whether through encouraging BC spot prawns on local menus, setting up The Fish Counter, and participating regularly in Vancouver Aquarium fundraisers, Rob has continually inspired people across the country to think critically about the environmental impacts of the fish they serve, sell and eat. He is a remarkable chef, an environmental leader, and a human with a true heart of gold who cares deeply about working meaningfully with others. Suffice to say: our program would not be what it is today without his tenacity in shifting the industry perspective from cooking delicious, fresh seafood to cooking delicious, fresh, sustainable seafood and we are eternally grateful.

Laurenne Schiller, Science Analyst, Ocean Wise Seafood

Chef Robert Clark ignited my interest in sustainable seafood years ago and continues to inspire me throughout my career. The Canadian culinary scene is incredibly fortunate to have him as a leader, a mentor and as a fearless advocate for sustainable seafood.

Chef Thompson Tran of Wooden Boat Food Company

Having gone through the process as a chef, Rob’s knowledge of sustainable and quality seafood was invaluable to designing an Ocean Wise program that enabled businesses to source responsible seafood. His passion and unyielding willingness to volunteer his time to ocean conservation has forever positively changed the landscape of seafood in Canada. For all his efforts, I could not think of a more deserving recipient of The Order of Canada. Congratulations Chef Robert Clark!

Mike McDermid, Co-founder of the Ocean Wise Seafood program and co-owner of The Fish Counter

In last few years, I have had some unforgettable opportunities to collaborate with Chef Clark for the fisheries events in Ottawa and Victoria.  A kind, knowledgeable teacher and mentor with a great sense of humor.  Working with him in the same kitchen is absolutely fun while very educational: every time I work with him it assures me that we have a great leader to follow. Cannot wait to collaborate with him again and learn more from him.

Chef Daisuke Fukasaku of Fukasaku of Prince Rupert

Chef Rob was the first Executive Chef I ever worked for and man did he leave a lasting impression. Never one to mince words, Chef was always on the line empowering the team to do the best that they could.

I was told I could come and work all of the stations for free for my internship, or! I could work garde manger and get paid. I took the latter but Chef made sure, I experienced every station and touched and tasted as many ingredients as I could. My final memory of my last shift at C, was shucking 50 lbs of Wild Pacific Sea Scallops… a memory I will always cherish. Congrats Chef, je taime!

Chef Charlotte Langley, Scout Canning and Marine Stewardship Council Ambassador

Chef Rob Clark,

Ocean Champion, Mentor, Leader.

Rob continues to inspire us and lead us to Dive Deep into our collective work in sustainable seafood and healthy lakes, oceans and rivers in this country and around the world.

He has pushed me, challenged me, held me to account and stood shoulder to shoulder with me as a mentor and a friend through thick and thin, and I appreciate him for that.

Executive Chef Ned Bell, Naramata Inn

Chef Robert Clark has been an amazing mentor to many generations of young chefs. His work and ideals regarding sustainable seafood has helped me greatly in becoming the chef that I am today.

Executive Chef Quang Dang, D.I.C.E.D. Culinary

Chef Rob Clark, widely heralded as the Godfather of Sustainable Seafood, is being recognized for his significant contributions to educating, engaging and inspiring an entire generation of chefs and foodies around sourcing and purchasing seafood.  He has notably moved the dial on Canadians’ awareness of how their choices impact the long-term health of our oceans and the species that live within them.  Thank you Chef for blazing a trail and building a program that I am incredibly proud to be leading!

Sophika Kostyniuk, Fisheries and Seafood Program Director, Ocean Wise

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