Florida chefs give up Chilean sea bass
16th May 2003
Environmental News Service
More than 100 Florida chefs joined the national
campaign to stop serving Chilean Sea Bass, citing
growing concern that the popular fish is in danger
The campaign "Take a Pass on Chilean Sea Bass,"
is sponsored by the National Environmental Trust
and The Antarctica Project, and more than 1,000 U.S.
chefs from more than a dozen of the nation's major
"We are taking Chilean Sea Bass off our plates in order to keep it on the planet," said Pedro Maradiaga, executive chef of Bongos Cuban Cafi.
The restaurant industry accounts for 70 percent of all Chilean Sea Bass sales in the United States.
The Chilean Sea Bass is a marketing name for the Patagonian toothfish, a deep water fish that gained tremendous popularity over the past decade. The species is being decimated by illegal over fishing and several populations have already gone commercially extinct.
"The non-stop pace of illegal fishing virtually guarantees that the entire fishery will collapse in less than five years unless we take immediate action," said Beth Clark, director of the Antarctica Project. "Last year alone, with regulations in place, nearly 40,000 tons of Chilean Sea Bass were illegally fished in the waters around Antarctica."
Some estimates find that as much 80 percent of Chilean Sea Bass sold on the world market is obtained illegally. Many environmentalists believe that the current regulations are not enough to prevent the species from extinction.
"Chilean Sea Bass had been a signature dish at Nikki Beach ever since we opened," said executive chef Brian Molloy. "This has been an extremely hard decision because the entree is so popular, and we were selling about 60 to 80 pounds of it each week, but we know that removing it from our menu is simply the right thing to do."