As part of its efforts to support sustainability practices in the foodservice industry, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) announced it has joined Share the Gulf, a coalition of chefs, restaurateurs, restaurant associations, seafood suppliers, fishermen, consumers, and environmentalists working to protect their access to fish in the Gulf States.
“The fresh, local seafood of the Gulf States is essential to the growth of the region’s economy and its varied foodservice businesses,” says Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs for the NRA. “We are committed to helping ensure this seafood is not only fished sustainably so its population continues to grow, but that the voices of small businesses, their employees, and customers also are heard.”
The initiative, launched in 2013, aims to ensure the region’s restaurants and grocery businesses maintain an equitable share of the Gulf States’ red snapper catch.
“Our goal is to make sure Gulf seafood continues to be shared fairly and sustainably so that all of us can enjoy it for generations to come,” says Stephen Stryjewski, executive chef at New Orleans–based Link Restaurant Group and Share the Gulf co-chair. “We believe—and science shows—that if Gulf fisheries are well managed, there will be a growing population with plenty of snapper, grouper, and other fish to go around. We are committed to sitting down and working together to find a productive, fair and reasonable solution about how to share the Gulf.”
In addition to the NRA, the Louisiana Restaurant Association, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Texas Restaurant Association, Mississippi Restaurant and Hospitality Association, and the Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance, as well as dozens of restaurants and seafood companies, are supporting the initiative, which is fighting proposed changes to regulations that would take a portion of the red snapper reserved for restaurant and foodservice use and make it available for recreational fishing instead.