Chef champions sustainable fishing

2016-10-25 06:00
Carl van Rooyen shows off his award in his kitchen at The Vineyard Hotel.  PHOTO: gary van dyk

Carl van Rooyen shows off his award in his kitchen at The Vineyard Hotel. PHOTO: gary van dyk

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There’s no fishy business when you order a seafood dish at The Vineyard Hotel in Claremont – their chef is a champion of sustainable seafood practices.

On their website the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) says that unsustainable fishing practices have left fish stocks dangerously depleted and ecosystems sufficiently altered to jeopardise a number of marine species.

In an attempt to arrest the situation, SASSI has developed a set of consumer-focused tools to help us make sustainable decisions when it comes to buying and ordering seafood.

One of the first hotels to sign up to the initiative was The Vineyard Hotel and their chef Carl van Rooyen has been named a SASSI Trailblazer for his efforts in support of sustainable seafood practices.

It is easy to understand his passion and dedication to maintaining the standards when he points out where he grew up.

“My youth was spent in the Muizenberg and Kalk Bay areas as a learner at Muizenberg High,” he says.

“I came to realise the importance of sustainable fishing when you hear the fishermen’s stories of how their catches were dropping.

“When I came to this hotel as a student I was happy that they had started this initiative to sign up with SASSI and it has continued throughout my career.”

He admits that sometimes it is difficult to keep up these sustainable practices but everyone had a part to play in creating awareness about the effects of overfishing.

“Yes, sometimes we have to take a dish off the menu but there’s always a way to enhance the dining experience for your customers with what is available,” he says.

“I also find that it is best to be honest with customers in that situation and do my best to make them aware of the seriousness of overfishing of some species.

“Everybody in the catering business has a part to play and the sooner more people are aware of it by not buying those species on the endangered list the more fishing companies will realise that nobody will buy those stocks and will stop fishing for it.”

The Trailblazer Award is for chefs and restaurants that are going the extra mile in promoting and supporting seafood sustainability.

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