Ocean to Table

Ocean to Table
Asheville Restaurants Working to Turn the Tide on Unsustainable Seafood.

Sunburst Trout served at The Market Place.
As the world's appetite for seafood increases so does the impact on the ocean's fish population. Overfishing has almost wiped out some of the open water's most popular seafood choices (Tuna, Snapper & Grouper for example). 

Asheville restaurateurs are taking steps to support only ocean-friendly practices, ensuring they only purchase fish caught, or farmed, using environmentally friendly practices.

"Our mantra is using local, fresh ingredients," said William Dissen of The Market Place. "Local ingredients taste better and it's the right thing to do." 

William Dissen
A popular seafood dish at The Market Place is the Sunburst Farms Trout served with beluga lentils, smoked bacon and confit tomato vinaigrette. The trout is locally farmed in the heart of the Pisgah National Forest and contains zero added hormones, antibiotics or animal by-product (which means it isn't swimming around in its own waste).

Dissen recently spoke to the U.S. Congress about sustainable seafood and better management of federal fisheries. "Seventy percent of seafood is sold through restaurants, so it's our responsibility to help lesson the impact on the ocean's ecosystems," said Dissen.

Across town, the owners of Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro also have sustainable practices in place. Fish is delivered twice weekly from the S.C. and N.C. coast and their buyer works directly with the smaller fishing organizations to avoid large commercial operations.

"The Wreckfish is one of the few seafood choices indigenous to the S.C. coast that is sustainably fished,  and we will get that whenever available," said Storm employee Kerry Whealan. "We also use lesser known fish that are considered 'throw away' because they are not as glamorous as the better known species. Nothing the fishermen catch is wasted.  Plus, since we get the fish whole,  [the chefs] use every part of the fish!"

What You Can Do To Make A Difference
1. Ask questions - Be aware of what is being served at restaurants and ask where their fish is sourced.

2. Download the App - The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a mobile app that provides a guide to sustainable seafood, including which fish is best and which fish you should avoid.

3. Look for the blue eco-label of the Marine Stewardship Council in stores and restaurants.
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