Living, Breathing, Eating Fish

Katie Stoops

A chef and author spreads the word about sustainable seafood

He’s a cook, he’s an author, and he’s a National Geographic fellow. Barton Seaver lives, breathes and eats sustainable seafood, and his goal now is to have more people doing so.

The former chef/partner of two restaurants in Washington, D.C., both of which served sustainable seafood, in May Seaver published his book, ‘For Cod and Country,’ which is filled with advice about using and eating sustainable fish, as well as many recipes.

Seaver is also a National Geographic fellow, which means he looks at how humans give and take from the world and how that affects it. In this role he works with various audiences talking about the nutritive value of seafood but also the opportunities we have as consumers to ease our burden on the oceans.

What did you learn at the two D.C. restaurants you worked at?

They showed me that people like trying new species of fish and that food can be educational.

In one restaurant we served 78 species of seafood in the first year we opened. We were very seasonal and had appropriate protein portions, 4 oz. to 5 oz., so customers came to trust us and know they were going to get an appropriately portioned meal.

We traded in the perceived value of a giant slab of filet for a real value of a fulfilling meal with nuanced flavors and connections and people walked out of our restaurants happy.

But they also knew that the fish they’d eat with us probably wasn’t going to be scallops, bass, tuna or salmon. But it was going to be blackfin tuna, bluefish, Arctic char—species that were new and we had an opportunity to introduce people to them.



On the other side of the border...In Canada, I am able to use wild BC salmon and Qualicum Bay scallops that are very sustainable. I also like to raise awarness to the prawns that I use from BC aswell, have a very strict fishing rules, they are very sustainable. I think we need to raise awareness to the tiger prawns that people are eating from South East Asia that are being grown in sewage. These farmed shrimp are tearing apart villages and rice patties. I have a fisherman to table direct contact which makes my sustainablity effort HUGE. I know what I am getting and see the LOVE that these guys are putting into their fish. Lets educate the people!


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