Several top hotels and restaurants have banded together to join the advocacy for sustainable seafood harvest and environment-friendly fishing practices to protect valuable marine resources that provide food, medicines and other basic necessities.
As part of the initiative, it is organizing Sustainable Seafood Week in February 2016 to allow an open discussion of “the status, challenges and awareness for more sustainable seafood in the Philippines…”
Christian Schmidradner, general manager of Meliomar Inc., a seafood exporter and processor, said, “Sustainable seafood requires a long-term, dedicated approach. The Sustainable Seafood Week shall become our main tool for the facilitation of change, to learn from experiences of others and monitor improvements over time.”
It was pointed out during the industry forum that more than 90 percent of the Philippines’ fish stocks were being overexploited or depleted.
Destructive, illegal fishing has destroyed the marine environment. Fish catch has dropped significantly and fishermen have to travel longer distances.
Many aquaculture operations also use unsustainable sources of feed, polluting aquatic ecosystems with chemicals and antibiotics.
The restaurants and hotels said they recognize the industry’s “increasing responsibility to procure from sustainable sources and to educate their consumers about the need for sustainable seafood.”
Meik Brammer, executive chef of Manila Marriott Hotel, said the commitment is part of a global effort to sustain fisheries resources and protect the oceans. It has been recognized, he added, that restaurants and hotels had “the responsibility and the power to address this issue from a direct supply chain perspective.”
Vince Cinches, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace
Philippines, said that through the initiative, “the hotel and restaurant industry is demonstrating the viability of sustainable seafood, which not only benefits local communities, but also helps conserve and protect our fragile marine ecosystems.” He called on other groups to help reduce the problem of overfishing, wasteful fishing and destructive fishing “that accidentally catch sharks and turtles by cleaning up their menu and serving only traceable and sustainable seafood.”
Supporting the initiative are the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Fairmont Hotel, Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, Marco Polo Ortigas, The Peninsula Manila, Shangri-La Hotels, Fairmont Raffles, New World Makati, Alab, Le Club, Lulu Hooch, Vask, Disciples Escoffier International Asia, Blueyou, Centre for Sustainability, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia and RARE Fish Forever.
Shark fin ban
Earlier, budget airline Cebu Pacific (CEB) announced it was banning shark fin carriage on all its flights. The ban also covered meals in-flight or during corporate events.
CEB vice president for corporate affairs Jorenz Tañada said, “Cebu Pacific values biodiversity and marine life sustainability. We are banning shark fin carriage… as we learned that unsustainable shark fishing and our carriage of shark fin are not aligned with CEB’s position on sustainable development.”
Lorenzo Tan, vice chair of the National Advisory Council of World Wide Fund-Philippines (WWF), said CEB’s decision “will help disrupt the transport chains that fuel this highly destructive trade.” WWF estimates 73 million sharks are killed yearly for their fins and flesh.
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