Today twenty of the world's most acclaimed chefs publicly announced their commitment to Oceana's global campaign, Save the Oceans: Feed the World. Though it sounds counterintuitive, protecting our oceans also means protecting our planet's food security: by encouraging wild fish species to flourish we are supporting a naturally occurring source of millions of tons of animal protein. Eating wild seafood can contribute to solving one of our most pressing problems, the fact that one billion people wake up hungry every day. Even so, what does fine dining have to do with solving world hunger?
One of the central issues in overfishing is the practice of 'reducing' smaller fish species like anchovies and sardines to create feed for livestock. Instead of eating these tons of heart-healthy protein ourselves, we feed these forage fish to other animals and introduce enormous waste into the system. For example, Peruvian anchovies account on average for 8 to 10% of all fish - by weight - caught in the oceans. Yet over 95% of all of these anchovies are reduced into fishmeal and fish oil. Our human predecessors (as recently as 50 years ago) ate these small fish in large numbers, and now the world's top chefs want us to reintroduce them to our menus and our regular diets once more.
Chefs Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz and Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca traveled to the renowned Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastian, Spain to co-host fellow chefs Ferran Adrià (elBulli Foundation, Spain); Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, Italy); Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, USA); Ashley Palmer-Watts (Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, UK); Alex Atala (D.O.M., Brazil); Grant Achatz (Alinea, USA); Brett Graham (The Ledbury, UK); Joachim Wissler (Vendôme, Germany) and seven more of the world's best to discuss how our oceans can help address the challenge of a hungry planet. As a part of that, these leading chefs have made a commitment to serving forage fish - like sardines, anchovies, and herring - at their restaurants on World Oceans Day, June 8 2015, encouraging diners to seek out and enjoy this delicious, healthy seafood and to support Oceana's campaign to save the oceans and feed the world. You can have an impact too: choosing small fish can make a big difference.
I hope you will join these Michelin rated chefs by preparing delicious meals made from forage fish in your own home--you can find them canned in every supermarket--or by choosing small fish from the menu in restaurants when available, as we hope will increasingly be the case as people recognize their value and flavor. In doing so, you are taking a step towards a healthier you and a healthier ocean. If more people follow suit, it's a big step towards providing more food for the planet and rebuilding the world's fisheries.