Skip

Seafood Wars
January 21, 2011 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Legal Sea Foods plans to serve a menu of blacklisted fish next Monday, claiming that there is no scientific basis for the Monterey Bay Aquarium's guide to sustainable seafood--which was recently updated to promote Atlantic haddock, Atlantic pollock, summer flounder, and line-caught Gulf of Maine cod to its “Good Alternatives” Category.
posted by rhiannonstone (69 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Enjoy fish while you still can.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:28 AM on January 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Wow, people are assholes, man.
posted by nevercalm at 11:29 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


why be a dick about this? hey monterey bay aquarium!, eat shit for trying to do the right thing!
posted by rainperimeter at 11:30 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Limitless growth, unlimited resources. It's God's way.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:31 AM on January 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hey everybody, resources are limited.

Well then we better go out with a bang while we still can!
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:32 AM on January 21, 2011


Wow. I'd always been curious about Legal Sea Foods (lived in the DC area for a number of years now but never been there) but I guess that interest is done now.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:33 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Enjoy fish while you still can.

Funny, I was just reading yesterday how the actress Daphne Zuniga suffered mercury poisoning because she was eating sushi four times a week. So, in other words, enjoy fish (sparingly) while you still can.
posted by hermitosis at 11:33 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Previously.

Reading the article seems to indicate that the CEO actually might have a point. Unfortunately, that's lost in the sensationilistic headline, and absolutely tone-deaf presentation of the idea.

A leaflet or ad campaign explaining why Legal felt that their fish are indeed sustainably harvested would have gotten the point across much better. I won't rule out that the Monterey Bay Aquarium might have overstepped a few bounds here, but Legal seem to be shredding their credibility with this stunt.
posted by schmod at 11:33 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Happy Eat a Dolphin Day!
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:33 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you really think there's no scientific basis for some claim, surely you have a stronger counter-argument than "you're not the boss of me."
posted by mhoye at 11:34 AM on January 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


ICTHYS, what assholes.
posted by Bummus at 11:34 AM on January 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


Defend the haddock! Let my piscine brethren be!

There's a Legal Sea Foods near where I work, and it smells just awful. Hopefully the noisome odor will keep away the rapacious and short-sighted people trying to eat off the blacklist.

However, I must confess that I do like KFC's new Ortolan Poppers.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:35 AM on January 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


sings..."Here she is, your last Kimodo Dragon"
posted by fixedgear at 11:35 AM on January 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just wait until the churrascarias start doing the same thing. Panda with a side of great ape, anyone?
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:36 AM on January 21, 2011


Lion meat tacos!
posted by fixedgear at 11:37 AM on January 21, 2011


I've always liked Legal, and ate there regularly when we lived on the east coast, but this is a dick move. On the other hand, I've always been a bit suspicious of the one-stop Monterey list. It seems that any single-stop safe-to-eat certification would be easy to sway/subvert. Even if their intentions are pure, which I expect they are, seafood producers have a big incentive to lie and hoodwink them.
posted by immlass at 11:39 AM on January 21, 2011


Yeah! Back the fishermen! When all the fish are gone they can retire to their summer home just like they've always wanted to!
posted by jonesor at 11:40 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, that Gloucester Times article is a transparently biased piece of crap.
posted by nanojath at 11:44 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sure a more nuanced Monterey bay aquarium list would probably be five pages long, but then everyone would ignore it. It's a really hard thing to produce something credible, effective and still easy to carry around. I really think that they should consider certifying restaurants at multiple levels of marine conscious: silver, gold and platinum or some such.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:44 AM on January 21, 2011


OMG I LOVE THAT RESTAURANT! but i had no idea they were a chain. whenever i go to DC, i always try to find an excuse to eat there. they serve GLUTEN-FREE bread and pasta and their oyster bar is to die for.

still, that's a dick move :P
posted by liza at 11:45 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was just reading yesterday how the actress Daphne Zuniga suffered mercury poisoning because she was eating sushi four times a week.

Is she "leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer"? [/Mamet]
posted by The Bellman at 11:45 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


schmod : I won't rule out that the Monterey Bay Aquarium might have overstepped a few bounds here, but Legal seem to be shredding their credibility with this stunt.

Not really, on either count...

The former just said "hey, these fish do pretty well at keeping their numbers up and we haven't managed to somehow screw up their breeding patterns yet, bon apetit."

The latter makes money selling fish - doesn't matter what kind - and will sell a LOT of it as a result of this promotion.

Summary - Controversy sells, whether you sell tickets to watch fish swim around, or plates of them breaded and fried for eating.
posted by pla at 11:46 AM on January 21, 2011


Tonight's Menu:

Yangtze River Dolphin nigiri
Coelacanth Pâté
Mekong giant catfish and chips
Russian sturgeon caviar
Smalltooth Sawfish fillet
Great White fin soup
Blue River Crab cake
Northern bluefin tuna salad
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:47 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Legal Seafoods will revisit that list on Tuesday, right?
posted by at by at 11:49 AM on January 21, 2011


Oh, and they can get Sarah Palin to bring dessert.

I'm sure we could find a way to have Jenny McCarthy help make your childrens' future more fucked up too but I don't think there's a vaccine for diabetes to rail against.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:51 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


A few years ago, my girlfriend and I went up to Boston, and walked by their downtown location on the way to something -- the aquarium, I think. There were a ton of people eating outside. Now, I'm not normally an asshole outside of the Internet, but for some reason I felt compelled to say "Hey, this is that place I got food poisoning from" as we walked by them.

I actually felt bad about it, never actually having eaten there, until now.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:52 AM on January 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Someone should forward this thread to the CEO/Marketing of Legal.
posted by stbalbach at 11:53 AM on January 21, 2011


The "Legal" part of their name has some interesting history:
Legal Sea Foods was born in 1950 when George Berkowitz opened a fish market in the Inman Square neighborhood of Cambridge, Massachusetts. He opened it adjacent to his father Harry’s grocery store Legal Cash Market where customers were given “Legal Stamps” (forerunners of S&H green stamps) with their purchases.
But they're not some little local thing any more: Legal Sea Foods, the pre-eminent Boston-based chain of 31 high-volume restaurants built on serving fresh, local seafood.


Calling a pamphlet published by the Monterey Bay Aquarium "brainwashing" lowers the bar pretty for brainwashing. A strongly worded pamphlet on his windshield? Brainwashing! An excessively sad looking "lost dog" flier on a telephone pole? BRAINWASHING!


Cod is expected to be fully rebuilt by this year

Gentlemen, we can rebuild them. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic cod. Cod Austin will be that fish. Better than he was before. Better, lighter, flakier.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:54 AM on January 21, 2011 [19 favorites]


Threeway Handshake, you were just channeling me. I got violently ill with Norwalk virus from eating mussels at the Legal at Chestnut Hill Mall (near Boston College) - never been that sick in my entire life.

Legal's gotten worse as the chain has expanded further; when they really did source almost everything daily from the Boston wharves, it was a reliable place to get good fish. Now it's overpriced meh.
posted by catlet at 11:59 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


the rebuilding program is on track and even ahead of schedule. Cod is expected to be fully rebuilt by this year in general

Some more info from this June 2010 article:
“We’ve seen what I would consider some pretty remarkable improvements in stock status in New England groundfish in 10 years,” said Tom Nies, groundfish fishery analyst for the New England Fishery Management Council. “I don’t want to sugar-coat them. We still have a ways to go. But when you look at the biomass trajectories since 1994 for all of the stocks in the groundfish plan, they’re almost all on an upward trend. Whether that’s the result of good management — that’s what we’d like to believe — or the result of blind luck, because of something in the environment, it’s a pretty dramatic turnaround.”

That’s encouraging.

Yet, there’s one major exception: Georges Bank cod. Despite fishing cuts over the last 16 years or so, the Georges Bank cod is not bouncing back and is at 10 percent of fishery managers’ target. Stock sizes are still quite low and the status is still overfished with overfishing happening, per the last federal stock assessment, conducted in 2007.

So what’s going on with Georges Bank cod?

Presumably the Georges Bank cod is included in what Nies's meant about "weaker" centers.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:01 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Calling a pamphlet published by the Monterey Bay Aquarium "brainwashing" lowers the bar pretty for brainwashing. A strongly worded pamphlet on his windshield? Brainwashing! An excessively sad looking "lost dog" flier on a telephone pole? BRAINWASHING!

Yeah, exactly. Legal Seafood is in an economic position to publish their own damn pamphlet if they think the others are "unscientific."
posted by muddgirl at 12:03 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know it's not the point, but this thread is making me hungry.
posted by NationalKato at 12:06 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ionizing Radiation Industries today announced its new campaign to prove that nuclear bombs provide a lifetime's worth of vitamin-D production in a flash--and there was no scientific justification for their bad rap. "Just like anything, from popsicles to smooth jazz, too much nuclear radiation can be harmful, but in 'modest' amounts can be beneficial and indeed good for the urban environment--no one lives in poverty or has too little to eat at the epicenter of cleansing nuclear event."
posted by maxwelton at 12:08 PM on January 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


How do they serve their jellyfish?
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:10 PM on January 21, 2011


Reading the article seems to indicate that the CEO actually might have a point.

Sort of. He's saying the current cod stock is not declining, it is being sustainably harvested, which is probably true. However, it is misleading because the cod stock is very small and thus the sustainable harvest is very small. To get a large sustainable harvest you need a large cod stock, and that takes time to build back up (if ever). He's in a hurry, he wants his money and profit now, not waiting 10 or 20 years, so he makes this "not declining" argument, which is both true and short sighted.
posted by stbalbach at 12:12 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


They should just go ahead and let each diner club his or her own baby seal after the meal. And punch a panda in the face, just for the heck of it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:19 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Last spring, he also helped organize a day-long scientific meeting of political and industry figures examining Northeastern University and Mass. Institute of Technology research that might debunk allegations that the fish stocks are declining.

A "scientific meeting of political and industry figures" is just about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.
posted by CaseyB at 12:22 PM on January 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


More like Legal-Sure-But-Maybe-Ethically-Questionable Seafood am I right.
posted by kingbenny at 12:27 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


God, that Gloucester reporter just couldn't be assed at all to get a quote from the Monterey folks, could he? Bad journo.
posted by klangklangston at 12:28 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


when they really did source almost everything daily from the Boston wharves, it was a reliable place to get good fish. Now it's overpriced meh.

They could source it all from Dorchester and it would be overpriced meth.
posted by yerfatma at 12:35 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


The ocean is just free money waiting to be scooped up, that's liberty.
posted by Theta States at 12:36 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think dot rat with Thai chili sauce is part of Legal's vision, yerfatma. OTOH, there's not a danger of overfishing.
posted by catlet at 12:40 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]




An interesting and related blog: Sustainable Ocean Project.
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on January 21, 2011


klangklangston: God, that Gloucester reporter just couldn't be assed at all to get a quote from the Monterey folks, could he? Bad journo.

I was thinking that, too. I looked through for any rebuttal, but nothing. In that case, here's more About the Seafood Watch Program:
How Does Seafood Watch Develop Recommendations?

Our scientists research government reports, journal articles and white papers. They also contact fishery and fish farm experts. After a thorough review, we apply our sustainability criteria to develop an in-depth Seafood Watch Report. All of our reports are reviewed by a panel of experts from academia, government and the seafood industry and are available on our website. From our reports, we create our seafood recommendations.
BRAINWASHING!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:54 PM on January 21, 2011


In March is the annual International Boston Seafood Show/Seafood Processing America. Due to the popularity of the topic they've added a Sustainability Track to this year's conference program.
posted by ericb at 12:55 PM on January 21, 2011


There's also this editorial in the Gloucester Times: Bravo to Legal CEO for taking on bogus seafood 'eco-labels'.
posted by ericb at 12:58 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


You mean I now have a self-righteous reason to continue not to eat their shitty seafood?!?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:03 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]




Deep Sea News: DON’T PANIC: Sustainable seafood and the American outlaw.
posted by ericb at 1:07 PM on January 21, 2011


Sorry to be oblique, but ask me about Legal Seafood at a meetup sometime.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:18 PM on January 21, 2011


Over 70% of the earth is covered with people who know nothing about the severity of the global overfishing crisis.
posted by snofoam at 1:27 PM on January 21, 2011


So long and thanks for all the fish.
posted by Gungho at 1:35 PM on January 21, 2011


Glad one of us mentioned Jellyfish, are not a threat to human health, they are a major impact and threat to fisheries around the world. Soon, the only swimming thingy in the coastal oceans will be Jellyfish and they taste bad.
is Halibut on the black list? I get 6 pounds of nice bone-less fillets once a month from a well stocked seafood market in Mexico for the going price of $1.25 a pound. can i keep this healthy fish diet going?
posted by tustinrick at 1:50 PM on January 21, 2011


There's this amazing list where you can look that up. If only I could find it to link right now...
posted by stoneweaver at 1:53 PM on January 21, 2011


Those closet Communists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium were due for a hard fall.
posted by blucevalo at 1:55 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I owned a competing seafood chain, I'd put out a press release declaring a menu of invasive species such as lionfish and Asian carp the same day.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:43 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Glad one of us mentioned Jellyfish, are not a threat to human health...

Oh yeah?
posted by Ritchie at 5:30 PM on January 21, 2011


Sorry to be oblique, but ask me about Legal Seafood at a meetup sometime.

You mean, um, smoked salmon? From, say, British Columbia? Grown in the wild, not farmed?

'Cause, yeah, I could definitely go for some "lox," maaan.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:56 PM on January 21, 2011


Chicken fried manatee flank option. Yum!
posted by buzzman at 8:21 PM on January 21, 2011


Speaking as a Cantonese - this is fucking unconscionable.

Having first hand experience in seeing geoduck being sold for $0.99/pound to current prices ($6+); harvests of the fruits of the sea needs to be regulated.

This past year's wild sockeye return was really really great (because of unexpected volcanic activity); but don't set next year's quota based on the previous year! A wide variety of seafood is a human cultural heritage - we should preserve what can be. Many species and subspecies are going to be unavailable because of climate change.

Then again, climate change may favour other species... eels are great eating; and warmer freshwater rivers favours them. Eel aquaculture can be a rather profitable enterprise if it can enter popular paletts.
posted by porpoise at 8:25 PM on January 21, 2011


The full menu will feature black tiger shrimp fritters, with chick peas, slab bacon, smoked tomato and avocado sauce, cod cheeks with spaghetti squash, toasted pecans, melting marrow gremola, and prosciutto-wrapped hake, with braised escarole, rancho gorgo beans and blood orange marmalade, together with wines.

cod cheeks with spaghetti squash

cod cheeks

Okay, there’s trying to make a point, and then there’s being just plain wasteful.
posted by spitefulcrow at 9:07 PM on January 21, 2011


Jebus, these people are fucking monsters.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:00 AM on January 22, 2011


Octopus aren't for eatin', they're for good, good lovin'.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:35 AM on January 22, 2011


ericb: Deep Sea News: DON’T PANIC: Sustainable seafood and the American outlaw.
Internal Monologue:
Bad Miriam: “If I do not have a Surf ‘n’ Turf burrito I will surely perish!”
Good Miriam: “No! Shrimp is bad! You know shrimp is bad! You are a goddamn marine biologist!”
Bad Miriam: “But it is sooooo delicious. Plus it tastes so good with the Super Secret Chipotle Sauce.”
Good Miriam: “Pollution! Bycatch! Habitat destruction! BAD! Bad naughty Miriam!”
Bad Miriam: “Shut the hell up while I eat this best of all possible burritos.”
NOM NOM NOM
The End.
Best intro to a news-type story.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:04 AM on January 22, 2011


Four Fish author Paul Greenberg: "I will eat a line-caught cod from the Northeast. I would consider anything that is caught in a sustainable way from a small-scale fisherman, because I think supporting small-scale fishermen is a way to get stable fisheries in the end."

fish2fork is the world’s first website to review restaurants according to whether their seafood is sustainable, and not just how it tastes.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:33 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]








« Older 84 Years Later, Sherlock Holmes is Reborn in Print   |   A Day In The Life Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post