Trace Your Seafood’s Story in October

September 25, 2015, 1:04 PM HST · Updated September 29, 9:42 AM
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More than 50 restaurants and retailers statewide are gearing up to take part in Hawaiʻi Seafood Month. Although it begins Oct. 1, Maui has already played host to the first launch event. The seafood celebration kicked off at MiGRANT Maui on Wednesday, Sept. 23, with Celebrity Chef Sheldon Simeon and five of Maui’s premier local chefs. Organizers call the event “a huge success” that gathered more than 100 supporters, including Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Hawaiʻi Seafood Month is organized by Conservation International Hawaiʻi in partnership with the Hawaiʻi Seafood Council, a nonprofit that supports responsible marine fisheries and sustainable seafood. In conjunction with NOAA’s National Seafood Month, this campaign highlights the collective efforts of the commercial fishing sector and local businesses to promote sustainable, local seafood and vibrant fishing communities across our paeʻāina (islands).

Executive Director of Conservation International Hawaiʻi Jack Kittinger says the collective energy between everyone at the MiGRANT event truly stood out. “The combination of chefs, fishermen, distributors, retailers and Conservation International is a powerful one. Together we can do great things,” he says.” It was an honor to shine the light on the fishermen who are the real stars of this campaign.”

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    A group of Maui’s premier local chefs, including celebrity chef Sheldon Simeon, at the launch of Hawai'i Seafood Month at MiGRANT Maui. Photo by Mieko Horikoshi.

    A group of Maui’s premier local chefs, including celebrity chef Sheldon Simeon, at the launch of Hawai’i Seafood Month at MiGRANT Maui. Photo by Mieko Horikoshi.

    Guests enjoy food at the launch of Hawai'i Seafood Month at MiGRANT Maui. Photo by Mieko Horikoshi.

    Guests enjoy food at the launch of Hawai’i Seafood Month at MiGRANT Maui. Photo by Mieko Horikoshi.

    Diners at the launch party for Hawai'i Seafood Month at MiGRANT Maui. Photo by Mieko Horikoshi.

    Diners at the launch party for Hawai’i Seafood Month at MiGRANT Maui. Photo by Mieko Horikoshi.

    Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa with organizers and guests at the launch of Hawai'i Seafood Month at MiGRANT Maui. Photo by Mieko Horikoshi.

    Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa with organizers and guests at the launch of Hawai’i Seafood Month at MiGRANT Maui. Photo by Mieko Horikoshi.

    Chef Isaac Bancaco's dish of Opelu, Opakapaka, Brandade, fine herbs and lavosh for the Hawai'i Seafood Month launch party at MiGRANT Maui. Photo by Mieko Horikoshi.

    Chef Isaac Bancaco’s dish of Opelu, Opakapaka, Brandade, fine herbs and lavosh for the Hawai’i Seafood Month launch party at MiGRANT Maui. Photo by Mieko Horikoshi.

    Hawaiʻi Seafood Month is sponsored by the Ulupono Initiative, a Hawaiʻi-focused impact investment firm that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for island residents through its investments in locally produced food.

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    “Ulupono Initiative is proud to provide support for Hawaiʻi Seafood Month,” said Murray Clay, Managing Partner at Ulupono Initiative. “We know that helping local consumers understand where their food comes from is important to help Hawaiʻi residents demand sustainably produced local food. An estimated 74% of local fisheries are depleted or in critical condition, so it is vital that programs like this exist to inform consumers. It is exciting for us to see strong support for this cause from our culinary community, too.”

    In celebration of Hawaiʻi Seafood Month, the culinary festivities continue throughout the state. On Hawaiʻi Island, there will be an intimate dinner in Hilo on Oct. 3 prepared by Chef Mark Pomaski of Moon & Turtle, and on Oct. 17 at Brown’s Beach House Knoll at the Fairmont Orchid on the Kohala Coast. The Oʻahu kick-off event is scheduled for Oct. 7 at MW Restaurant, with a collaboration dinner featuring Chef Lee Anne Wong of the newly opened Hale ʻŌhuna, Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of Pili Group, and Michelle and Wade Ueoka of MW Restaurant.

    In addition to the launch events around the state, throughout the month of October, local seafood featured at participating restaurants and retailers will be linked to ThisFish, an innovative online platform that allows consumers to trace their seafood from ocean to plate. Scannable QR codes will instantly connect to the story of the seafood, including species, fishery, harvest method, and landing details as well as information about the fisher who harvested the seafood.

    “Fresh local seafood is one of the great joys of living in and visiting Hawaiʻi. Informed consumers help to support our responsible fisheries by asking for world-class, safe and sustainable Hawaiʻi Seafood,” said Dr. John Kaneko of the Hawaiʻi Seafood Council. “That is what Hawai‘i Seafood Month is all about.”

    Conservation International works in more than 30 countries to help move societies toward a healthier, more sustainable development path that values nature’s role in human wellbeing. In 2011, the organization created its Hawai‘i program, ho‘i i ke kai momona – return to an abundant ocean that will benefit Hawai‘i’s people for generations to come.

    For more information on Hawaiʻi Seafood Month, special launch events, or participating restaurants and retailers, click here.

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