Seattle-area Chefs Sign Pledge to Avoid Imported Shrimp

Seattle-area Chefs Sign Pledge to Avoid Imported Shrimp

26 August 2008

Ten Seattle-area chefs and restaurateurs have signed a pledge vowing to not cook with imported shrimp. The pledge is part of Mangrove Action Project’s (MAP) Question Your Shrimp campaign to raise consumer awareness about the environmental, community, and health problems associated with imported shrimp. It is co-sponsored by the Seattle chapter of Chef’s Collaborative.

Participating chefs include: Rose Anne Finkel of the Pike Brewery, Greg Atkinson of Northwest Essentials, Diane LaVonne of Diane’s Market Kitchen, Peter Burke of Ray’s Boathouse, Johnathan Sundstrom of Lark, Kevin Davis of Steelhead Diner, Adam Stevenson of Earth and Ocean, Dustin Ronspies of Art of the Table, Dave Storm of Portage Bay Cafe, and Pete Tobin of Spokane School of Culinary Arts.

“Shrimp is the most popular seafood among Americans, but many people do not know that most of the shrimp on restaurant menus and in grocery stores is imported from countries like Thailand, China, and Ecuador, and that this imported shrimp comes at a very high cost to the planet’s coastal zones, local communities and biodiversity,” says Alfredo Quarto, the executive director of MAP.

According to Quarto, foreign shrimp farms heavily pollute the land and waterways and are the top destroyer of mangrove forests, which act as nurseries for many fish and protect coastlines from erosion and storm damage. Shrimp farms are also associated with child labor, human trafficking and other labor abuses, and the shrimp they produce may contain residues, pesticides, antibiotics, and other filth.

For Kevin Davis, chef and owner of Steelhead Diner, signing the pledge is a way of formalizing his commitment to serving local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients. “Everything on our menu is from the Pacific Northwest and well-managed fisheries,” Davis says. “When shrimp comes from so far away, you can be assured it is unsustainable.”

The goal of the pledge is to bring attention to local chefs who are using sustainable seafood and to provide a resource for Seattle-area diners. “It has become clear that Seattle-area consumers are confused about where they can eat sustainable seafood, so we hope that this list of restaurants and chefs will help guide them,” said Elaine Corets, MAP’s Latin American Coordinator. “We are delighted that these chefs recognize their role in influencing consumer patterns by serving only sustainable seafood.”

As part of their ongoing campaign, on Friday, August 29, MAP staff will participate in a panel about sustainable seafood at Changemakers Day at Slow Food Nation, the festival in San Francisco taking place over Labor Day weekend.

For more information:
Eli Penberthy
Mangrove Action Project (MAP)
(509) 951-4361
[email protected]