AMHERST, Mass. – Dining Services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is participating in a national effort to support seafood sustainability. A kick-off event is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28 and will include a lecture on sustainable seafood by alumnus Mark Lussier at 7 p.m. in the Berkshire Dining Commons.
Lussier is a conservationist and seafood buyer for North Coast Seafoods, the largest seafood distributor in the nation with headquarters in New Bedford.
Dining Services has also joined forces with Seafood Watch, a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California that is designed to inform consumers of the importance of purchasing sustainable seafood—fish that comes from sources that can continue to exist over a long period of time without causing damage to a species or the environment. Overfishing and farm fishing that pollutes surrounding waters are two problems that Seafood Watch seeks to solve by urging consumers to buy certain types of fish that are known to be plentiful, well managed and caught in environmentally friendly ways.
“Supporting overall sustainability is good for the long run—for our students and for the environment,” says Ken Toong, director of Dining Services. “We feel as a large public, land-grant university it is important for us to be proactive and to take leadership roles with issues concerning dining and the environment.”
Sustainable seafood that will now be served at the dining commons include wild salmon, haddock and Alaskan or Pacific cod. Besides sustainability, dining services has also implemented fair trade and buy local programs in an effort to serve better quality, environmentally friendly food, Toong says.
Also participating in the sustainability efforts is Australis Aquaculture, a fish farming company from Turners Falls, that will provide samples of barramundi at the Hillside Room of the Worcester Dining Commons from 5-8 p.m.