July 22, 2008 - Christine Blank for SeafoodSource
An anti-farmed salmon organization aims to take its "Farm-Free Salmon Pledge" to restaurants and retailers nationwide after taping a Rachael Ray segment on July 20.
"Once the no-farmed pledge grows to 50 restaurants, then to 100, then hundreds worldwide, less farmed salmon will be purchased," said Kenny Belov, co-owner and general manager of "Fish." in Sausalito, Calif.
Belov formed "Fish or Cut Bait" (www.focb.org), an organization in which retailers and restaurants pledge to use only wild salmon, in March when the California and Oregon salmon fisheries were closed for the season."With farmed salmon being used so much now, the demand for wild salmon is going to become almost nonexistent," says Belov.
While Belov and the 10 other restaurant members of FOCB believe the farmed salmon industry is the cause of some of the wild salmon industry's problems.
"The demands of the salmon farms are so great [that] you are depleting wild stocks of fish such as anchovy and herring to make this fishmeal," says Belov. Salmon farmers, meanwhile, are not taking the accusations lying down. "Most of the environmental data on salmon farming's negative impact is 20 to 25 years old. Anything that reduces consumer choices as opposed to expanding them is a dangerous trend," says Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association in Hallowell, Maine.
To get the word out about the Farm-Free Salmon Pledge, Belov taped a segment focusing on FOCB as well as Fish's sustainability efforts for "Rachael's Vacation" on The Food Network. Belov is also trying to get restaurants and retailers to sign up at events such as the Salmon Aid Festival, which was held June 1.
Marcus Guiliano comments on this article:
I have always been involved with, and supported these types’ of initiatives and pledges, as it is imperative we protect our wild (natural) fish species. I signed on to the “Take a pass on Chilean Sea Bass” in the late 90’s, and will join this effort to protect wild salmon.
It has been our policy here at Aroma Thyme to only serve wild Alaskan Salmon on our menu. We will not compromise on this principle, will not serve our patrons farm raised salmon. We support Kenny Belov’s efforts, and hope other restaurants will join in the cause by taking the, "Farm-Free Salmon Pledge".
Buying Wild Alaskan Salmon is an adventure. Every time we purchase Alaskan salmon it comes from a different area. You can take a virtual tour of Alaska as you search for fresh caught wild salmon as the season unfolds. From Sitka to Cooks Inlet to the Alutetian Islands and all the different rivers in between it is an exciting and educational adventure that every chef should take. Salmon Connoisseurs prefer fresh catches from certain salmon runs, such as the Yukon and Copper Rivers. One of my own favorite areas for salmon is the early run in the Stikine River.
Help us tour bountiful Alaska by enjoying the wonderful fresh catches on our menu here at the Aroma Thyme Bistro.
Chef Marcus and Jamie Guiliano
Aroma Thyme Bistro
165 Canal Street
Ellenville, New York 12428