Thanks to the long-term thinking of Spencer Herbert of the Parks Commission, restaurants and other facilities serving food within Vancouver’s Parks are now filling their menus with environmentally sustainable seafood. Following a Vancouver Parks Board report, food vendors are being asked nicely to only serve seafood that has been caught in an “environmentally friendly way” (CBC, January 29, 2007), although guidelines state it is not necessary to implement the policies if they will hurt a Parks area business’s bottom line. The official recommendation from the Parks Board to the Parks’ food vendors is directed to the Board’s golf courses, concession stands, and also the restaurants found on site. The recommendations state,
A. That the Board’s concessions and golf course clubhouses purchase sustainable seafood choices over alternative seafood choices subject to the quality, price and availability being acceptable to the Board;
B. That the Board sends a letter to their leased restaurants requesting that they continue to purchase sustainable seafood choices whenever possible.
(Josephs, January 15, 2007)
The report is based on four factors that define sustainable seafood; namely, that a species is currently abundant, well managed, its harvest is unlikely to bring about the death of other species (think dolphins in tuna nets), and whose harvest does not mean habitat loss.
For vendors, the primary impact would be to shift from Atlantic cod to Pacific cod and Alaskan cod. Furthermore, for those vendors willing to participate fully, they would lose shrimp from their menu offering completely. According to reports, it is impossible to harvest shrimp in accordance with the four sustainability principles listed previously. Restaurants, though, will not necessarily be pulling the ingredient out from under their patrons’ noses. As one chef mentioned, efforts will be made to entice diners away from the ever-popular shrimp with tasty dishes made from purely sustainable fish and calamari though there’s little chance that all the patrons will stop asking for shrimp.
Herbert warned, “we won’t have fish on our table anymore unless we reform our practices” (CBC, January 29, 2007). The Board is therefore introducing the policies slowly so that in the future it might be possible to remove unsustainable items from the concession stands, golf course clubhouses and on-site restaurants completely.
CBC news staff (2007, January 29). Sustainable seafood on park board menu. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2007/01/29/bc-seafood.html
Josephs, P. (2007, January 15). Memorandum to Board Members: Sustainable seafood choices at Park Board concessions and golf course clubhouses. Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. Retrieved from http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/parks/board/2007/070129/sustainable_seafood_choices_parkboard_facilities.pdf