Marriott launches sustainable seafood initiative

BETHESDA, MARYLAND Marriott International has quietly rolled out a large-scale sustainable seafood program, dubbed FutureFish.

Marriott has created “fish lists” specific for each of its four regions—Americas, Asia Pacific, Middle East/Africa and Europe—to identify the sustainability rankings of popularly eaten species. The company aims to source about half of the seafood served at its properties from sustainable sources by next year.

In a recent blog post, Brad Nelson, Marriott’s corporate chef and vice president of culinary, talks about the impetus for the FutureFish program:

“Marine scientists argue that if the world continues at the current consumption rate, the global seafood resources are at risk of becoming non existent, some say by 2040. I am no scientist, nor do I believe the world will actually let that happen, but every chef will tell you that the fish are smaller now than they were several years ago. It is really up to us to manage how we handle the growing concern of seafood sustainability, and preserve our ability to prepare and serve this all important menu category. To that end, Marriott has initiated a program designed to address this growing concern and define how we approach seafood sustainably on a global strategic level with local actions. FutureFish is an internal program guiding our chefs in seafood selection, procurement, sales preferences, and sustainable solutions.

“Tackling this issue, there are clearly several categories that are at the most risk. We know the Blue Fin tuna fishery is at great risk, and are vowing to look to other species of tuna instead of Blue Fin. Chilean Sea Bass, a relatively new menu favorite (almost unheard of before 1985), is overfished. Only the Chilean Sea Bass certified out of the South Georgian fishery is actually sustainable. And of course, one of the biggest issues according to Conservation International is the state of the shark population and what is happening as a result of the demand for shark and shark fin. Each of these we are addressing individually, and in a way to provide better tools of understanding for chefs and the ultimate deciders, our guests.”

The goals of the Marriott program are to positively impact the sustainability of the seafood we purchase, using informed buying decisions and menus with built-in sustainability while providing seafood sustainability guidance on a global scale that considers cultural and market uniqueness. The program will strive to identify and support local sustainable fishing industries and fishing practices.