Executive Briefings

How a New Dock-to-Dish System Hopes to Track Your Seafood in Real Time

Thanks to the farm-to-table movement and the work of a generation of chefs, cooks, farmers and other producers, we've opened the window to the source of much of our food. We often know the farm where the turnips and lettuces on our plate come from, the fields where the cows or sheep grazed, even the names of the chickens that laid our eggs. But this kind of traceability has been very slow to come to the seafood industry, which is notorious for being secretive and often fraudulent. A small group of fishermen and chefs has been working to fix this through their Dock to Dish program, adopting the methods and principles of the land movement and CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture, to bring that kind of transparency to the sea.

Started in 2012 in Montauk by fisherman Sean Barrett and chef Dan Barber, Dock to Dish connects fishermen to restaurants, markets and the public through a subscription service. The program has expanded to California, Costa Rica, Canada and the legendary fishing community of Gloucester, Mass. In Los Angeles, it is run out of chef Michael Cimarusti's sustainable seafood shop, Cape Seafood and Provisions, on Fairfax Avenue.

Now the folks at Dock to Dish are developing a sophisticated tracking system that will allow people to monitor the seafood from the point that it’s caught, to shore and through its transportation to the restaurant or market where it's sold. It's a level of transparency that will finally allow consumers to know exactly how — and from where and exactly when — the salmon and scallops and striped bass and rock fish on their plate got there.

"The future of sustainability is traceability," said Cimarusti by phone from Cape Seafood. Cimarusti, who also owns and operates the lauded L.A. seafood restaurants Providence and Connie & Ted's, has long been an advocate for the responsible sourcing of seafood. "You want transparency. The seafood industry is already on the mat. Change starts on a small scale, but all good things do."

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Started in 2012 in Montauk by fisherman Sean Barrett and chef Dan Barber, Dock to Dish connects fishermen to restaurants, markets and the public through a subscription service. The program has expanded to California, Costa Rica, Canada and the legendary fishing community of Gloucester, Mass. In Los Angeles, it is run out of chef Michael Cimarusti's sustainable seafood shop, Cape Seafood and Provisions, on Fairfax Avenue.

Now the folks at Dock to Dish are developing a sophisticated tracking system that will allow people to monitor the seafood from the point that it’s caught, to shore and through its transportation to the restaurant or market where it's sold. It's a level of transparency that will finally allow consumers to know exactly how — and from where and exactly when — the salmon and scallops and striped bass and rock fish on their plate got there.

"The future of sustainability is traceability," said Cimarusti by phone from Cape Seafood. Cimarusti, who also owns and operates the lauded L.A. seafood restaurants Providence and Connie & Ted's, has long been an advocate for the responsible sourcing of seafood. "You want transparency. The seafood industry is already on the mat. Change starts on a small scale, but all good things do."

Read Full Article