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Testimonial - Elisabeth Vallet

Testimonial - Elisabeth Vallet

Elisabeth Vallet
Director, SeaWeb Europe

Since studying biology at university, I became really concerned about the negative impact of human activities on the environment, and wanted to contribute to limiting the impact of these activities. It just seemed obvious for me to have a job contributing to these crucial issues for future generations and for the planet.

SeaWeb Europe is entirely dedicated to marine conservation and in particular sustainable seafood. Created in 2006, SeaWeb Europe has seen the need to inform seafood buyers about the sustainability of the species they buy, and the necessity of creating a new type of collaboration with and between stakeholders. We do this by creating opportunities for dialogue amongst stakeholders, helping them to develop sustainable practices and promoting their engagement in seafood sustainability.

We work with the whole seafood supply chain, from fishermen and fish farmers to suppliers, fishmongers and chefs, as they all have a key role to play in sustainability through the species that they choose for their clients. They can initiate changes in the supply chain for more sustainability.

We inform buyers about the sustainability of the species based on scientific data, and create opportunities for meetings and exchanges of experiences around these issues; we also help the buyers to develop sustainable practices and their own seafood policy. Furthermore, we are working with future generations of chefs and fishmongers in catering schools and training centres to inform them of these issues, so that they are able to take them into consideration as soon as they have their own fish shop or restaurant.

Everyone has a role to play. In asking where the fish comes from and how it has been fished or farmed, consumers will contribute by helping fishmongers and chefs to ask the right questions to their suppliers. If the suppliers don’t know the answer, they will have to find out, and this will help to improve the traceability and the information about the fish they sell.

A young 16 year old student in a French catering school saw a newspaper article about the culinary competition on sustainable seafood that we have created, but she did not know what ’sustainable fish’ was. She asked one of her teachers about it, he did not know either, so they checked on the Internet. She convinced him to help her to participate in the competition.

She was one of the winners of the 1st edition of the competition (in 2012), and now is one of our best ambassadors, organising workshops in her school about sustainable seafood for her classmates to “convince them to become involved, as it is so important!”

This is a great example of our daily work and of what we try to initiate: an increase of awareness and a change of behavior, inter-generational and inter-sectorial. This is what will contribute widely to a more sustainable seafood market.