Our Commitment To Healthy Ocean Wildlife & The Environment


Our Commitment To Healthy Ocean Wildlife & The Environment
March 8th 2014…Over the last several months we have set out on a course to operate our restaurant in a more environmentally conscious manner. The idea of sustainability has been at the forefront of the planning for Screaming Tuna’s future. The success and future of this industry depends on educating ourselves and our guests about the sustainability of our seafood. This past week, the culmination of this progression came in the form of an official partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. This means we are committed to sourcing our seafood in ways that minimize damage to ocean and freshwater environments. We proudly follow the recommendations of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program and we are humbled to be their firstWisconsin partner, as well as the first sushi restaurant in the Midwest. (see full list of partners here: seafoodwatch.org ) . So WHO exactly is the MBA Seafood Watch?Nearly 85% of the world’s fisheries are fished to capacity, or overfished. Our seafood choices have the power to make this situation worse, or improve it. The MBA Seafood Watch program helps consumers and businesses make choices for healthy oceans. Their recommendations indicate which seafood items are “Best Choices,” “Good Alternatives,” and which ones you should “Avoid.” Seafood Watch recommendations are science-based, peer reviewed and use ecosystem-based criteria. The goal is to help sustain wild, diverse and healthy ocean ecosystems that will exist long into the future. . HOW did we become Seafood Watch Partners?At the end of 2013 MBA provided us with a comprehensive scorecard, grading every fish we served based on the criteria mentioned before. Since then we have coordinated efforts with our vendors and signed a contract with Seafood Watch to seek out only seafood that is labeled as a “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” by the MBA. Now all of the seafood we sell is fished or farmed in ways that minimize their environmental impact, we no longer carry any seafood from the MBA “Avoid” list.  Any seafood we carried that was caught in unapproved areas or by unapproved means, has found a suitable replacement. The fish that had no good alternative, such as hamachi, escolar and Scottish salmon, have been replaced with similar approved counterparts in kampachi, albacore and Verlasso salmon. Our actual printed menu will reflect this shortly. . HOW do we intend to apply these principles of sustainability in other facets of the restaurant?In addition to making our seafood more sustainable, we are also exploring other means to make our establishment more eco-friendly. Some developments have been simple yet crucial. For instance, we recently commissioned an assessment of the energy efficiency of our operations from WE Energies & Focus On Energy and are transitioning to high-efficiency lighting based on their recommendations. We have also begun the transition to biodegradable takeout materials, and are continually on the lookout for how to gain traction locally, most recently with a donation to the 2014 Milwaukee River Cleanup. To help our guests get excited about all of these developments, we are looking to keep sustainability at the front of their minds in two ways. For the week March 20th through March 26th we will be offering any dinner guest who asks about our sustainability program, out of curiosity or via our social medial prompts, a complimentary sashimi appetizer showcasing the newest fish Screaming Tuna has brought in with compliance to MBASW. Also, the bar will be getting involved by featuring certified sustainable wines at a very significant discount through April. . And perhaps most importantly, WHY are we doing all of this? To put it simply, we are doing this because it is the right thing to do. The conversation begin with a well-informed diner, who asked why we didn’t carry all sustainable fish. It was a tough but fair question: Why didn’t we?  As a sushi restaurant & as inhabitants of this planet we can ill afford to think of the oceans as an unlimited stockpile of resources. We could not do what we do without the oceans bounty of seafood. We know that at the current rate of depletion, future purveyors of sushi like ourselves, and more importantly future inhabitants of this planet, will not have our same opportunities because of the mistakes of those who came before them. Environmental consciousness is important to the individuals behind Screaming Tuna to varying degrees and for different reasons. Whether it be the waitress who lived in Mexico & knows the perils of extreme environmental irresponsibility first-hand, or the owner Alessio himself, who has taken steps to make his businesses in Chicago more green to help “make sure [his] daughters still have a planet to inherit.” . This initiative is still very young and it will not happen overnight. But we look forward to the continual training of our staff and raising awareness in our diners. We pledge to continue to seek out new ways to grow in this manner, including on a local level.

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