“If our growing population wants to keep eating fish (and I certainly want to) the future includes farming,” – Chef Ned Bell
By Samantha McLeod
The only way we can continue to consume seafood with any sense of sustainability is to only consume seafood that is responsibly farmed, responsibly harvested and maybe most importantly, understood, says Buy BC’s new chef ambassador Ned Bell .
“We need to dive deeper to better understand the challenges, the opportunities, and continue to create the road map to get us to a place where we are supporting healthy communities and consuming wild and farmed fish,” said Bell, a champion of BC foods, farmers and fishers.
“By ensuring we put the ecosystem first, we can care for the fish we grow and, in turn, feed and nourish ourselves,” said the award-winning locavore, who was recently appointed as Buy BC’s chef ambassador.
In an interview with SeaWestNews, Bell said: “If our growing population wants to keep eating fish (and I certainly want to) the future includes farming,”
“I know that’s a massive statement to uncover and understand, but it’s one we need to fully appreciate before we form our opinion or perceived opinion. Yes, there are challenges, yes there are risks, but the good of aquaculture far outweighs the bad of the past.
“Responsible aquaculture is needed…we need to utilize our oceans, continually develop and improve technology, including land-based farming, review siting requirements, what species of fish we grow and research innovative feed solutions, and most importantly understand what the health of a fish means, and the ethics involved.
“We have done some incredible work over a relatively short period of time creating awareness and advocacy for responsible, traceable and sustainable seafood, but we have barely scratched the surface,” he added.
Bell, the author of Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast, and General Manager/Executive Chef of Naramata Inn has long inspired people to think bigger about ingredients harvested from the land and waterways of B.C.
“When we buy local ingredients and products, we celebrate nutritious meals grown in our own backyard, and support local farmers and producers, communities and the environment at the same time,” said Bell.
“Food grown and raised in B.C. is picked at peak freshness. That means shorter travel time from farms to tables, which in turn creates fresher and tastier food and a reduced carbon footprint, all while maintaining farmland and green space in communities,” he said.
First launched in the ‘90s, Buy BC makes it easy for consumers to identify local ingredients and products by the presence of the Buy BC logo.
The program was re-established by the provincial government in 2018 and is led by Minister of Agriculture and Food, Lana Popham.
“Buying B.C. food and beverages strengthens our provincial food system and keeps people and the economy working,” said Popham.
“Ned’s steadfast commitment to supporting local food, and his ability to inspire, excite, and connect make this partnership a perfect pairing,” she said, adding that as Chef Ambassador, Bell will act as a hyper-local Buy BC advocate.
Bell’s appointment comes as the Federal Government works on a transition plan to move away from open-net salmon farming on Canada’s west coast.
(Image showing Chef Ned Bell courtesy of Government of BC)