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Point of View: Barton Seaver

Chef, writer, speaker, sustainable seafood advocate, Bartonseaver.org, Washington, D.C.

Property of SeaFood Business magazine

November 01, 2008

As education begins with inspiration and an open mind, dinner begins with fish. Wallet guides and educated consumers represent a small but important fraction of the seafood industry. But while the message of ocean conservation has thus far been championed by NGOs, soon it will shift to be the adopted strategy of seafood businesses. It is a precarious position for this ideology to have progressed past its original proponents and into the hands of those who stand to make money off products labeled as ethically superior.

As the dialogue of responsibility shifts toward businesses, it is important that they heed the underlying principles that have made sustainable seafood a movement. And of equal importance is that NGOs work together with market forces to ensure that sustainable seafood does not become simply another label at a higher price.

Sustainable seafood must 
represent the union of conservation and profit-based industry if it is to have any future. Presently we have a great opportunity to capitalize on growing public interest while maintaining, if not improving, the profitability of the seafood industry. The NGOs that have pioneered this movement should be seen by the industry as an asset that will enable business to succeed and our oceans to be sustained.



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