Friday, February 23, 2018

Hotels, restaurants unite to promote sustainable seafood

MANILA -- Last year, a consortium of like-minded individuals and organizations decided to tackle the problem of seafood sustainability in the Philippines and launched the first-ever Sustainable Seafood Week in the country.

Seafood sustainability as a movement has been around since the 1990s and is an ongoing concern to chefs worldwide, with the issue of overfishing and exploitation of marine resources having made certain species of fish endangered, even here in the Philippines.

Now on its second year, the stage is bigger, noted Meik Brammer, executive chef of Manila Marriott Hotel, which recently hosted the kick-off event for Sustainable Seafood Week Philippines 2017, which happens from February 20-27.
Next week's event has attracted more participating hotels, restaurants, seafood suppliers, environmental groups and non-governmental organizations.

For Christian Schmidradner, general manager of Meliomar, a seafood company and one of the driving forces of the sustainable seafood initiative in the Philippines, this shows "the growing importance placed on the topic of responsible seafood sourcing, implemented traceability, legal fisheries, and improvement of fisheries and aquaculture management."

"We started this movement with the involvement of all stakeholders, and with so many more organizations involved, we can draw more attention to the topic," he said.

Main events for the week include the formal opening and signing of the agreement between the participants of the initiative at the Hyatt City of Dreams on Monday, with Agos offering a special Kinilaw Bar.

Discovery Primea will host the Rare Fish Forever workshop on February 21, while Marco Polo Ortigas will host the same on February 22. Vask Restaurant and Hyatt City of Dreams, meanwhile will both host sustainable seafood masterclasses on February 22 and 23, respectively.

A government working session attended by various concerned groups will be held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza on February 22 to link the sustainable seafood initiative to government efforts, while Endurun will be the location for various NGO workshops by Save Philippine Seas and Marine Wildlife Watch on February 21 and 24.

Interesting activities for the rest of the week include an oyster shucking competition (February 22) and workshop (February 24) with Colin Buckley, as well as a cooking masterclass (February 25) at the New World Manila Bay Hotel.

Beach clean-up efforts in Cavite will also be undertaken by Le Club, Greenpeace and Marriott Manila on the 22nd.

Sustainable Seafood Week Philippines will come to a close with a chef collaboration dinner at the Peninsula Manila.

“It’s important to take the cue in increasing participation of our hospitality industry to address the overfishing in our country," said Vince Cinches, the Philippines’ Oceans campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, who reported that five out of 10 areas in the Philippines are, in fact, overfished.

During the kick-off, the participating hotels like Marriott, Hyatt City of Dreams, New World Hotels, Discovery Leisure Company, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, Peninsula Manila, and Shangri-La Hotels showcased various seafood dishes using ethically sourced seafood. They were also joined by top restaurants Agos, Vask, and Grind, as well as culinary school, Enderun.

Here are some dishes that you can order during Sustainable Seafood Week.

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