These days, with the plethora of information that the eco-conscious diner is continually bombarded with, it can often be most confusing for one to make decisions regarding the ordering of seafood in a restaurant setting. This is where Ocean Wise comes in…

Ocean Wise is an initiative designed by the Vancouver Aquarium with the goal of educating and empowering the consumer when it comes to the many complex issues surrounding sustainable seafood. Through close work with researchers (from both governmental and non-governmental organisations), fishermen, and restaurants

Ocean Wise strives to give the consumer an easy-to-follow labelling that will aid them in making informed choices when it comes to selecting seafood.

Ocean Wise-approved seafood is instantly recognisable on restaurant menus through the use of the symbol on your left, giving the consumer confidence that they are making the best choice to ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come. Celebrating their 5th year in operation, it is clear that many of Canada’s top restaurants have embraced the Ocean Wise program, with over 200 establishments participating in 2010.

In order to gain the Ocean Wise logo a species must:

1) Be abundant and resilient to fishing pressure

2) Be managed as part of a comprehensive plan based upon up-to-the-minute scientific research

3) Be harvested using methods that limit damage to ocean habitats

4) Be harvested in ways that limit bycatch of other, possibly endangered species

Good Food Revolution caught up with some of the Toronto Chefs supporting the Ocean Wise conservation program… albeit it with some really poor lighting:

And if one were to think that by following the mandates of Ocean Wise one would be left eating the most uninteresting of dishes, then have a look at some of the treats served up by some of Toronto’s best Chefs to celebrate Ocean Wise’s 5th year:

Pan Roasted Qualicum Bay Scallop at Scaramouche

With Wild Mushroom and Smoked Bacon Ravioli on Winter Vegetables. Toasted hazelnuts and Breadcrumbs. Veal Jus and Hazelnut Oil.
-Chef Keith Froggett

Alaskan Black Cod at Pangea

With Roasted Winter Root Vegetables, Sauteed Spinach and Black Truffles.
Chef Martin Kouprie

Roasted Ling Cod and Braised Oxtail at The Harbord Room

With With Cous Cous, Crispy Chick Peas, Preserved Lemon and Olives.
Chef Cory Vitiello

A full list of Ocean Wise partners can be found here.

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution and obvioulsy really needs to get a handle on this video recording/editing stuff.