Are “Green Meetings” hurting sustainable fisheries?

‘We have met the enemy and he is us‘   Pogo

Hotels, conference centers, caterers and wholesale vendors across the globe routinely offer non-sustainable fish choices in response to real or perceived client demand.  Should they?

Meeting planner and supplier polls show expanding interest in  ‘green meetings’. Meanwhile, perhaps in the name of tradition and/or good customer service, these same planners and suppliers purchase huge quantities of fish stocks deemed endangered or harmful to sustainable fisheries.  Doubt it?  Go to Hong Kong and ask for shark fin soup.  Go to Baltimore and ask for farm raised salmon.  You’ll be pleased with the speed of service.

“The customer is always right”. Really?   What responsibility do we have (as buyers and suppliers) to refuse to carry threatened species, or to deny a client request for same? Will the market punish us if we commit to buy only sustainable seafood?

It’s unclear where ‘responsible purchasing’ stops and ‘advocacy’ starts, but one wonders if the lack of industry complaint against non-sustainable fisheries and the tolerance of suppliers who offer non-sustainable fish, is a tacit approval of harmful practices.  Let us not be our own enemy.

Education is key.  The more one learns, perhaps, the more one will challenge a flawed system and work to activate a change.

Find out more about sustainable fishery issues by reading the UNEP guide,  the new WWF report, and Daniel Pauly’s informed, disturbing assessment Aquacalypse NowHere, at the Marine Bio site, too.

Have answers and thoughts on the questions above?  Please share.


  1. Another resource fro sustainable fish is CleanFish based in the US. When I originally worked with this client to help them position their brand in 2005, average consumers did not understand what sustainable fish was. However, the ball has moved forward and CleanFish has done a great instore educational job as well as appearing on the best restaurant menus in town.

    • Michael Luehrs says:

      Fantastic, Tanyia, thank you for that one. They’ve done their homework and are an example of a purveyor who made a commitment to follow rigid standards based on their sustainability strategy. It appears that they’re doing well which helps to answer the question posed, that is, ‘will the market punish suppliers who refuse to offer non-sustainable, overfished species’.
      I welcome additional similar examples! Thank you.

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