Aquaculture — or fish farming — is also a viable alternative, says Griffin. "It's the future of seafood."More and more items that Bluewater Seafood carries are farmed, often due to the lack of availability of the wild-caught alternatives. "And here in the mountains, we have a great farm-raisedtrout," he says.
Sunburst Trout Farm
offers one local source for the freshwater fish. The farm sits on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest in Bethel, 12 or so miles outside of Canton. The waters in which the troutare raised pass through the Shining Rock Wilderness watershed before emptying into Sunburst’sconcrete runways. The trout are fed an antioxidant-rich feed that gives the flesh of the fish a rosy-orange color — and makes the fish healthier for humans to eat, too.For Griffin, offering ocean-friendly options is as much a practical business technique as anythingelse. "This is how we make our living,” he says. “We want to make sure that it's going to be aroundto sustain us 20 years from now."
The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program works to empower consumers and retailersto make smart choices, helping to ensure that seafood is available for 20 more years — andbeyond.The California aquarium’s “Fishing for Solutions” exhibit, opened in 1997 to inform visitors aboutconservation issues in fishing and aquaculture, was the catalyst that helped identify Monterey Bayas a respected resource for seafood information. While developing the exhibit, the aquariumevaluated the seafood it was serving in its own restaurants — and even to its exhibit animals. Theaquarium made a commitment to serve seafood from environmentally responsible sources, and inthe process developed an approved seafood list, which they updated frequently. Visitors asked for copies, and today the Seafood Watch guide is widely used.The emphasis on sustainable seafood led to the development of an annual gala celebration,"Cooking for Solutions." Since 2002, the aquarium and Seafood Watch have hosted the event,which brings together celebrity chefs from across the U.S. and beyond to prepare dishes usingsustainable seafood and organic ingredients, paired with organic and sustainable wines.Cooking demonstrations led by celebrity chefs are presented in the blue light of the aquarium, withschools of fish darting around their tanks behind them. Notable chef participants have included AliceWaters, Jacques Pépin, Rick Bayless, Nora Pouillon, Rick Moonen and more than three dozenothers. This year's participants included John Ash, an internationally renowned author, chef andeducator.
darling Carla Hall was there, too, along with the Food Network's Alton Brown —and Asheville's own William Dissen, the chef of
The Market Place
restaurant.Dissen's sustainable purchasing practices are no secret to the food world outside of Asheville. Hewas selected as one of the Mother Nature Network's "40 Chefs Under 40," a group recognized for both its talent and green practices. And this year, Dissen was nominated as a seafood-watchambassador by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
A solution-oriented experience
It's no surprise that Dissen is dedicated to protecting the oceans. His wife, Jenny Dissen, works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, based here in Asheville. "It's scary to talk toall of the PhDs over at NOAA," he says. "They preach fire and brimstone." What do they think of thepeople who insist that climate change is a myth, our oceans healthy? "They think that they'reinsane."For Dissen, it's a significant honor to be recognized as the champion of a cause that he holds dear,and gratifying to spend such an important weekend with some awe-inspiring chefs — some of