Inhuis explored the thinking behind the campaign by interviewing Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana Europe; and Andoni Luis Aduriz, internationally renowned chef and founder of the acclaimed Mugaritz restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain.
Lasse Gustavsson, Oceana Europe
Is the role of the chefs primarily a means of shining a spotlight on the launch of Save the Ocean and Feed the World, or do they have a more substantial, long-term role to play?
Both. The chefs were an effective way of communicating the campaign to a wider audience, but we also see them as important ambassadors for Oceana in the future. Their established popularity meant we could quickly reach out to receptive audiences in many countries, but this is far from a mere publicity stunt. The chefs are genuinely interested in the campaign, because the issue directly affects them and because they have the influence to make a difference. They are committed to a longterm role, as we are committed to developing our work together with them.
Can you provide some examples of less familiar, under-exploited species we should be eating?
Perhaps it is not the most under-exploited fish we need to eat, but rather the most misused. Anchoveta has been labelled “the most heavily exploited fish in world history”, yielding greater catches than any other wild fish species [over nine million tonnes annually]. Yet just a fraction of this bountiful resource makes its way onto our plates. It is predominately used as fishmeal, which is fed to farmed fish or pastoral livestock. If we ate species such as anchoveta directly instead of using them to feed our food, we would solve a lot of social and environmental problems simultaneously. Although better known, herring and mackerel are also underexploited as direct food sources.
Which are the main, traditionally consumed species that we need most to protect and re-build?
Large predatory fish such as cod, salmon and tuna are amongst those that need the most protection. Species such as these are higher up in the food chain and tend to have far longer reproductive periods than their counterparts lower down the chain, which means stocks take longer to recover from over-fishing. It will take many years to re-build their stocks, but with careful management it can be accomplished and we could even see future yields increase.
What level of success has the book “The Perfect Protein” achieved to date?
To date it has been published in three languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese. French, German and Italian will follow soon. The first edition was actually released back in 2013 and sales in North America have been strong. The release of the second edition with additional language versions has resulted in a significant boost in European sales as well. It has been particularly successful as an e-book download from Amazon.
Could this campaign ultimately reach and influence poor, under-nourished people in the third world, or is it primarily focused on the wealthier nations and the influence they can exert?
The book is primarily focused on changing the food consumption habits of wealthier nations, but the overall aim of the campaign – to contribute to effective global fish stock management – will ultimately have the greatest impact on poorer countries by providing more food to feed under-nourished populations. Unlike poorer nations, the people of wealthier countries often have more choices about what they eat, and thus have the chance to adapt their behaviour for the better.