22 THE NATIONAL CULINARY REVIEW • JULY/AUGUST 2017
If you’ve long harbored a distrust of farmed fish, you’re not alone. News about the unsavory conditions of fish farms has
left a deep impression in consumers’ minds that has lasted for
years. But aquaculture farms today are, by and large, state-of-the-art operations where food safety is the primary concern and
healthy fish are raised and harvested under optimum conditions.
As wild seafood supplies dwindle, chefs who want to offer
LOOK AT BOTH SIDES
a consistently available, healthy seafood protein have a crucial
role to play. “It’s an outdated adage that as a chef you support
one or the other—farmed or wild seafood,” says Judy Dashiell,
senior vice president at the National Fisheries Institute, McLean,
Virginia. “We need to change the narrative away from wild versus
farmed into one where wild and farmed are seen as important
components of sustainable sourcing. That’s an important shift
that chefs can spearhead.”
Misconceptions swirl around fish-farming techniques, but they
are misplaced, she says. “Aquaculture is as sophisticated an endeavor
as any modern terrestrial farming that chefs are already comfortable
with, and the impact of a healthy farmed fish supplanting a more
traditional meal loaded with saturated fat can be tremendous.”
Dashiell recommends that chefs educate themselves by
aligning with groups such as Global Aquaculture Alliance,
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and making decisions based on
science rather than propaganda.
As a young chef, Andrew Gruel recalls being inundated with
propaganda about farmed fish. But after having done the research, he realized that much of it was untrue. “There’s so many
different degrees of what farmed seafood means that it’s hard to
make statements about what’s good and what’s bad,” he says. “I’d
read about how dirty fish farms were, but in 2010, when I visited
Farmed fish on the menu?
Educating diners is key.
By Lauren Kramer