What’s the Catch? A
t any given moment in San Diego, you could walk through downtown and find a vast assortment of seafood to eat: tuna, salmon, yellowtail, halibut, shrimp, lobster, crab, grouper, scallops, sea bass and more. And, strangely enough, they would all be readily available. But where did they come from? How were they caught? How healthy is their population? Is there some unseen factor that you, the consumer, should be aware of when deciding which of these tempting options to choose? Until recently, we perceived seafood as an unlimited resource, largely due to a global economy that makes a wide variety available year-around. But in reality global supplies of healthy, wild fish are swiftly approaching collapse.
our oceans and eco-systems. We need to respect and promote sustainability in our food sources because if we do not, those food sources will cease to exist.
are swiftly approaching collapse.
These problems are immediate and real; however, we do hold the power to change the system and to remediate the state of edible San Diego
Story and photos by Britta Turner
The goal of sustainability—whether you are a fisherman, a distributor, a restaurant or a consumer—should inform every aspect of the industry, including methods used to catch fish, fair wages for fishermen and the conservation of fish species. Sustainability demands a conscious effort to respect and support the capacity of a species, the environment and the system, to Global supplies of healthy, wild fish endure throughout time.
Fish will be one of the biggest assets in feeding the human population as it continues to grow; yet over the years we have devastated our oceans and exhausted much of the oceans’ natural supply of seafood. The first species to collapse in the San Diego area were abalone, rockfish and swordfish. If we continue to overfish and to destroy the ocean, it is simply a matter of time before we eliminate other species.
How to Support Sustainable Seafood in San Diego
So, what is the catch? What is local? What is sustainable? There are a handful of restaurant owners, chefs and activists in San Diego doing their best to promote honest, sustainable practices in the seafood industry and strive towards creating a self-nourishing and -sustaining seafood industry.
What is sustainable? Fishermen, chefs, consumers, and environmentalists all hold different opinions about the nature of local seafood. Judd Brown, owner of Pacific Shellfish and The Fishery in Pacific Beach, is a strong advocate for the fishermen—with over 30 years