World Oceans Day, celebrated on June 8 by United Nations proclamation, is intended as a reminder that marine resources continue to be weakened globally, due to pressures that include overfishing, pollution, and climatic and environmental changes.
While no industry is the sole cause of the problem or can provide by itself the solution, a variety of industry leaders are working on the effort, including chefs and restaurateurs, who play a particularly central role in setting culinary trends that influence both suppliers and consumers.
For example, Relais & Châteaux, the global luxury hospitality association with the largest collection of Michelin Star chefs in the world, has been increasingly taking it upon itself to use its power of influence and utilization to champion sustainable cuisine and do its part in protecting the world's scarcest marine resources. Relais & Châteaux's brand-wide initiatives include partnering with NGOs like Ethic Ocean to help fight and promote the preservation of marine resources, as well as specific initiatives of its own:
• In 2009, Relais & Châteaux committed to do its part toward saving Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna from extinction, recommending that all members withdraw the species from their menus.
• In 2017, Relais & Châteaux members committed to dropping wild bass from their menus during the fish's breeding season-January through March-a policy that will continue until it is proven that the species is no longer in danger.
• This year, Relais & Châteaux has added to its commitments a campaign against commercial electrofishing, a non-sustainable, harmful practice with the potential to cause grave damage to marine ecosystems when done incorrectly.
But it's not all "though shalt-not's" from this venerable organization. This year, nearly 80 Relais & Châteaux members worldwide including SingleThread, Chewton Glen, Hotel Wailea, North Island Resort, L'Auberge Carmel, Saison, Planter's Inn, and The Little Nell are creating individually designed menus and dishes, that will stylishly depict sustainable seafood for World Ocean Day. And member restaurants all over the world are putting on special dining events throughout the week. For example, many are highlighting the possibilities of a zero-waste menu. These culinary masters will cook the same fish from head to tail through a series of small courses for their lucky guests.
At Chewton Glen in the UK, Executive Chef Luke Matthews will serve a three-course lunch menu all week that includes Poole Bay oysters and Romsey Chalkstream trout. Over at Hotel Wailea in Hawaii, guests can experience an interactive "Talk Story" with local fisherman and Chef Zach Sato, where they can learn first-hand about sustainable fishing practices used in Hawaii today. North Island Resort in Seychelles will host an immersive Exquisite Fish dinner: a four-course menu that pays tribute to the ocean. The property will also be launching a private cooking experience with their chef, where guests can barbeque a whole fish on the beach. And at L'Auberge Carmel, the World Ocean Day menu will include Panna cotta with Dungeness Crab, Pacific Gold Oysters with Caviar, Wild Yellowtail with Shiro Dashi, and Monterey Red Abalone with Cabbage.