By Emma Culp, Staff Writer —
The Tennessee Aquarium is hosting their 7th annual Serve and Protect Event this Thursday, Sept. 21.
“This event is to help inform inland residents about their impact on fisheries and the way that wise choices can help protect marine life,” said Director of External Affairs at the Tennessee Aquarium Thom Benson.
One of the main goals of the Serve and Protect Event is to show the simple changes you can make when buying seafood. The first and most important step is simply checking the label on the fish you purchase and ensuring that it was caught or produced in the U.S.
“We know that the fisheries [in the U.S.] are regulated well… it’s safe and they are harvested in a manner that does not disrupt the ecosystem,” said Benson.
Large fish are highly demanded as food source often causing problems when there are no longer enough fish to reproduce. This causes fisheries to go to the next best option, choosing fish down the food web. While this creates short term sustainability, it poses a threat to smaller fishes species.
The Serve and Protect Program strives to show people, including inland residents, the role that they have in protecting aquaculture by simply properly picking your seafood.
This event attracts a large crowd eager to learn and witness well known chefs and has sold out every year. “This year is no exception… I think Chattanooga is a place that really values the environment,” said Benson.
Attendees will first enjoy a cocktail hour along with appetizers before witnessing a cooking demonstration hosted by chef Tamie Cook. Afterwards, guest will enjoy an elegant dinner in the IMAX theatre where attendees can watch local chefs prepare sustainable seafood choices right before their eyes.
During this, the chefs will discuss easy ways for consumers to know what they are eating, where it’s from and how to chose wisely when it comes to sustainable seafood.
Guests will then have a dessert reception in the River Journey Area of the Aquarium. “Our guests can mingle with the celebrity chefs and learn a little bit more about sustainable seafood,” said Benson.
Attendees will walk away with not only a better understanding of what sustainable seafood looks like, but recipes they can try out at home and tips on how to identify sustainable seafood at the grocery and on menus.
Although the event is sold out, there are plenty of other ways to explore more sustainable seafood options. The Chattanooga Market is hosting their annual Cast Iron Cookoff where they will highlight one of the dishes made at the Serve and Protect event. This gives locals another chance to meet local chefs and learn more about purchasing and preparing seafood.
In addition to this, the Tennessee Aquarium features regularly updated recipes on their website created specifically for the Serve and Protect program.
For more information, you can visit the www.tnaqua.org/ for more information on how you can make simple changes when it comes to seafood to help protect and preserve marine life.