Did you know that in the United States, two-thirds of all seafood reaches the consumer through restaurants?
By Jessica Santina
Dec 14, 2006
Did you know that in the United States, two-thirds of all seafood reaches the consumer through restaurants? Not only that, but demand for seafood is at its highest level in history. This means that the restaurant industry plays a critical role in the kinds of seafood we eat--and in what happens to our oceans.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average person in the United States in 2004 ate 16.6 pounds of seafood and shellfish. But where did all this fish come from?
Ocean to Plate
Understanding how seafood gets to your dinner table is an important part of protecting the environment. Inhumane fishing practices are destroying the ocean floor, forcing many species of fish to the brink of extinction, and even spreading dangerous diseases.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium, located on California's beautiful central coast, reports that irresponsible fishing and catching practices are wreaking havoc on our oceans and must be stopped. They urge restaurant managers--the gatekeepers to much of the nation's seafood distribution--to learn more about where their supplies actually come from.
For instance, fisheries worldwide regularly throw away 25 percent of their catch. It's estimated that for each pound of shrimp caught in a trawl net, an average of two to ten pounds of other marine life is caught and discarded overboard as "bycatch." This may include dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, seals, or even whales.
Scientists recommend that restaurant managers only purchase seafood or shellfish caught by responsible means, such as hook-and-line fishing, or trap fishing. Trawling, which means catching fish by dragging nets across the ocean floor, not only crushes ocean life, but damages important feeding and breeding spots. As a result, the ocean floor is irreparably damaged, and it may take centuries to replenish its supply.
Sea Sense in California
When you earn a culinary management degree in California, of course you'll learn about food preparation, meal presentation, and employee management. But you'll also learn that your culinary career will involve selecting inventory based on seasonality, local tastes, costs, or other variables.
And because California contains 1,340 miles of coastline, and the restaurant industry is the state's largest employer, your culinary management degree will show you the importance of environmental sensitivity as it relates to your culinary career. Hopefully, you'll consider responsible fishing methods as part of your selections.
This kind of restaurant training will prepare you for a career that will continue to have plentiful openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average annual earnings are approximately $39,000 for this culinary career--and the rewards you'll receive from protecting consumers, and our planet, may even be greater.
About the Author
Jessica Santina is a freelance writer with a background in media and marketing. She also teaches first-year writing courses at the University of Nevada, Reno.