After having recently watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s show “No Reservations” that explored a fish farm off the coast of Croatia, I found the TED talk by Dan Barber to be rather appropriate. Of course I’ve always known that fish farms exist, and have one close to home, but I had honestly never considered them in the equation of sustainable farming. Watching the workings of a tuna fish farm on “No Reservations” was eye opening for me. The fish were free and happy, eating food fit for humans, and frankly they seemed to be living like kings.
The company is Umami Sustainable Seafood, and while they are based in California, they farm off of Mexico and Croatia. Their website explains that by having different and multiple farms they are better able to distribute large quantities of tuna, which discourages purchasing tuna from fishermen with less sustainable practices. They also boast having pushed for more strict quotas that allow for tuna to naturally reproduce in a timely manner that helps further avoid over fishing. While they don’t go into any details about their farming practices, it seems like an excellent operation, and definitely opened up a new avenue for me to explore sustainable living.
Dan Barber really put all of this into perspective with his explanation of the differences between what was calling itself a sustainable fish farm and what actually was a sustainable fish farm. I think companies should be required to be explicit about their farming practices so that consumers are better equipped to make informed decisions about what they’re eating. Umami Sustainable Seafood is certainly one of those companies that I believe should put more time into communicating with consumers, and I think they would benefit from such transparency as well. I have no doubts about their practices, but knowing your food can be such a wonderful experience. Just like Dan Barber, I like having a relationship, in a way, with the food I eat. I like knowing my honey at home comes from my mom’s bee hives, that our vegetables come from the garden, and our eggs from our chickens. It’s always exciting to know where my food is from and the time and energy that was put into cultivating it.