Q&A with: Mike McDermid

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Mike McDermid is the program manager for Ocean Wise, a conservation program of the Vancouver Aquarium, which helps restaurants, retailers, and their customers make environmentally friendly seafood choices. Seafood offerings are rated according to recommendations and research findings by leading governmental and non-governmental institutions. Best choices are then highlighted on menus by the Ocean Wise logo, which now can be found at over 300 restaurant locations, 6 market locations, 2 culinary schools, and a university campus.


Why are so many restaurants and retailers reluctant to commit to sourcing sustainable seafood?
Many aren’t involved because it’s so difficult to find and understand the information—
it’s too time consuming. They’re busy with their jobs as it is.
How do you work with your restaurant and retail partners?
We work individually with each partner to help them make sustainable seafood purchasing decisions. We do the homework, dig through the literature, and make recommendations of what are the best options. For restaurants, all they have to do is buy the recommended fish, make changes to the menus, and the program allows them to highlight efforts they are making. For the customer, it makes it easy to identify the best seafood options on the menu.

Why are so many restaurants and retailers reluctant to commit to sourcing sustainable seafood?

Many aren’t involved because it’s so difficult to find and understand the information—it’s too time consuming. They’re busy with their jobs as it is.

How do you work with your restaurant and retail partners?

We work individually with each partner to help them make sustainable seafood purchasing decisions. We do the homework, dig through the literature, and make recommendations of what are the best options. For restaurants, all they have to do is buy the recommended fish, make changes to the menus, and the program allows them to highlight efforts they are making. For the customer, it makes it easy to identify the best seafood options on the menu.


Read the rest of Mike’s interview by clicking on the pdf image at right.