Diners at The Depot now have the opportunity to help make the world’s seafood supply chain more sustainable. As the first Alabama restaurant to fully qualify for the James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch program, The Depot has committed to serving seafood fished or farmed through environmentally responsible practices.
“Trying new, delicious sustainable seafood dishes can be an exciting dining experience and customers in our restaurant want to make sustainable choices,” Executive Chef Scott Simpson said. “As a Smart Catch restaurant, we’re not only sharing our commitment to sustainable seafood with our guests, but elevating the conversation so we can continue to strengthen our oceans and the environment.”
With more than 90 percent of the world's fisheries either fully fished or overfished, according to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, preserving marine life and promoting sustainable farmed options to assure stable fishing stocks is more important than ever.
As part of the Smart Catch pilot program, participating Smart Catch restaurants receive menu consultations, staff training materials, access to an online Seafood Calculator, marketing resources, and guidance in working with their suppliers so they can make smart seafood choices. Smart Catch’s sustainability criteria are powered by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program and NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index. The criteria are based on the health and abundance of fish and seafood stocks, the impacts of commercial fishing and harvesting on habitats and ecosystems, the degree of bycatch, and the effectiveness of fishery management systems.
Smart Catch was created with chefs for chefs to give diners an easy way to choose responsible seafood dishes. The program is just one of the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs, which showcase the organization’s commitment to establishing a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy, and thought leadership.
“Through Smart Catch, we hope to build greater awareness around sustainable seafood both in the chef community and with restaurant diners,” said Jami Bailey, chef liaison for Smart Catch. “The Depot is one of the first restaurants from the state of Alabama to participate in the program and they are leading the way for greater sustainability of our seafood for the future.”
The Depot joins the national movement of chefs around the country who have committed to responsible seafood practices through Smart Catch. For more information and a list of participating restaurants, visit www.jamesbeard.org/smart-catch.