Thursday, January 06, 2011

Naughty restaurant owner speaks out

But has nothing to say.

His seafood dinner trying to challenge ideas of what's sustainable may have merit, but his stated reasons for doing it sure don't.

So I have a message for Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz. You're in way over your head dude. Send me a note next time you want to try this.

I was of mixed mind after reading the first few articles written about this affair. But after reading more and more about his ideas on what's sustainable and why he thinks so, it's clear that he should stick to serving up tasty seafood and leave sustainability to someone else.

It's too bad, because the idea he raises has merit. It's useful to consider carefully whether "don't eat" lists make sense. Too often, seafood is categorized as sustainable or not by species--regardless of catch method, catch location, and management reliability. Some groups "just say no" to Atlantic cod, and idea that seems wrong to me. Some cod fisheries are sustainable and we should reward those doing a good job.

But Berkowitz's witless ideas are perhaps the worst sustainable seafood "reasoning" I've ever seen. He cites overblown critiques of scientific methods as if he were capable of judging them himself, and offers platitudes as his supposed "answers." I think this issue got away from him and he starting talking silly with too many reporters.

The back and forth debates over this issue are also getting silly. The Gloucester Times hopes that Berkowitz will be a champion for New England fishermen, even though the lead item on the menu is black tiger shrimp farmed in Vietnam. Not exactly an All American menu.

I like Roger Berkowitz's fire on this one, and I'd be happy to help him next time. We could cook up a real fine feast together, one that would truly test the mettle of sustainable seafood advocates like me. But he should let me choose the seafood and I'll agree to let him and his staff cook it. Then we'd both be doing something we know how to do.

Whattya say Roger, can you hear me?


JacquelineC said...

I agree! I keep asking why - if his goal is to support local fishermen - he doesn't use Maine Pink Shrimp. Sustainably harvested by local fishermen and in season now? Total radio silence on that one. Speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

The Gloucester Times covered this, a bit one sided. What do you think?