News / USA

Historic Fish Market Goes Green

Workers at Seattle's Pike Place look for sustainable sources of seafood

Customers at Pike Place Fish Market are finding a different selection of seafood now that the stall is going sustainable.
Customers at Pike Place Fish Market are finding a different selection of seafood now that the stall is going sustainable.

Multimedia

Audio
Ann Dornfeld

Pike Place Market is a required stop for visitors to Seattle, Washington. For a century, vendors have sold everything from fruits to hats to books at colorful stalls.

Right at the entry to the market, dozens of tourists crowd around its most famous attraction: a fish stand where the workers throw a salmon back and forth several meters over shoppers' heads. The show always draws laughter and applause.

Taho Kakutani is a fishmonger here. He says as popular as this shop is, the owner and workers are concerned that some of the seafood they're selling today may not be around tomorrow.

First-hand experience with over-fishing

Kakutani recounts a story fish market owner John Yokoyama told.

"When he was a child, him and his father could fish local ling cod and rockfish and salmon. And there really wasn't a question of availability. It was always just there. And things have changed over the last generation or two. Dramatically. So that he went out fishing last summer and he didn't catch a single fish."

Over-fishing also has a cultural impact on groups like Native Americans, who have relied on local seafood for centuries.

"A lot of what we are known for, oysters and crab and salmon, are not simply food commodities," Kakutani says, "but they hold very important emotional and, in some cases, spiritual meanings for whole nations of people."

Search for sustainability

A couple months ago, Yokoyama and his team began a project to switch to sustainably-harvested seafood. They researched what different marine science and environmental organizations consider sustainable. But Kakutani says it wasn't as simple as it sounds.

"It seems like the differences in opinion vary as many as there are different organizations or groups. So what we're learning, so far, is that there isn't any set definition as to what sustainability means."

Now Pike Place Fish Market is working with the Seattle Aquarium and a local sustainable sushi restaurant to determine what the shop should sell, and what it should get rid of.

So far, the shop has stopped buying farm-raised tilapia from Asia and wild-caught steelhead trout and monkfish. They're looking for sources of sustainable shrimp.

Getting US consumers to try something new

Kakutani says shoppers get frustrated when they can't find their favorite fish, like Chilean seabass.

"People love it and it's a fantastic fish. However, it's long been on an endangered species watch list and so we won't be carrying that anymore. And people are gonna have to learn about sablefish - which is a beautiful substitute for it, but yet it's not commonly known."

According to Kakutani, the biggest challenge is finding new fish from sustainable sources to introduce to the public. For one thing, Americans usually don't cook their fish whole, as much of the world does. They tend to buy fillets or steaks. Kakutani says that means Americans haven't tried a lot of fish that taste best cooked whole, like branzino, sea bream, striped bass and mackerel.

"Mackerel has been long thought of as, like, a bait fish for Americans. But, for most of the rest of the world, mackerel is like a delicacy. It's wonderful. And one of the things that we have going for us is that people are becoming a lot more food-savvy these days and are willing to be a little more adventurous."

Kakutani believes everyone should know where their fish comes from.

He hopes the tourists from all over the world who crowd the Pike Place Market will take the shop's new sustainability message back to their hometowns.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid