It’s Time to Think Outside the Can

by Casson Trenor

April 5, 2012

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="576" caption="Vegan 'Tuna' Salad Sandwich!"] IMG_8433[/caption] When my partners and I set out to start a restaurant in San Francisco, we had a novel idea: to give people the opportunity to savor the beauty and delicacy of Japanese cuisine while at the same time protecting the fragile biodiversity of the worlds oceans. We immersed ourselves in the art ofsustainablesushi, came up with a remarkable number of delectable alternatives environmentally dubious choices like bluefin tuna, eel, and hamachi -- and in the process became a major cuisine destination for the Bay Area. It is possible -- in fact, it is imperative -- to find ways to enjoy the foods we love without destroying the oceans. Unfortunately, this lesson is lost on some of the major seafood brands like Chicken of the Sea. These companies continue to employ destructive fishing practices such as fish aggregating devices (FADs) and conventional longlines, despite the overwhelming evidence that they are ripping up the oceans. The saddest part of all of this is that these companies know better. We all know how unnecessary this kind of behaviour really is. The major tuna suppliers in the UK are doing just fine even though they have all committed to ending the use of FADs. Even Safeway, the conventional retail giant here in the US, has recently announced that its private label tuna will be FAD free in a matter of months. Sustainable tuna is possible, but until companies like Chicken of the Sea change their ways, we have to think outside the can. And we need your help! So weve launched a recipe contest as a way to come up with alternatives to tuna classics. Were working with food gurus from across the spectrum, such as Sarah Kramer (How It All Vegan), Jaden Hair (Steamy Kitchen), Jerry James Stone (TreeHugger), and Shaina Olmanson (Food for My Family) to identify innovative and delicious ways to enjoy sustainable and healthy meals. Weve seen great recipes submitted already--the photo above is for a delicious vegan "tuna" salad sandwich from Meals; For Moderns--but we need more! Our oceans need people to take the challenge of a FAD-free diet until Chicken of the Sea changes. So if you have a great recipe for a Chickpea of the Sea mock tuna salad, a mackeral melt, or even a tempeh picatta, then submit your recipe here! First prize winners will get a $250 Williams-Sonoma gift card, and second prize winners will get a $50 W-S card, and all the featured recipes will get the fame and recognition theyre (obviously) due. By helping us Think Outside the Can, youll be telling Big Tuna that sustainability is possible, and that its past time for them to stop ripping up our oceans.

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