It’s probably no news to you that fishing for human consumption is having a major impact on some of the world’s species of fish. Whale meat has been frowned upon in most countries for a number of years now, and more recently the number of hotels who are removing shark fin soup from their menus has flourished.
In 2012 Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced the removal of sea turtle and whale from its global menus. In 2014 Starwood announced a ban on shark fin in its restaurants globally. Hilton, Swiss-Belhotel and Shangri-La are also now shark fin-free, with Shangri-La adding Bluefin tuna and Chilean Sea Bass to the company’s banned species as part of the company’s Sustainable Seafood Policy. Soneva Group has also joined the ban on shark fin, and in 2014 the hotel company located the anti-shark finning group Shark Savers headquarters at the award winning Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives. Another first for Hilton came last month with the company becoming the first global hotel company to serve MSC certified sustainable cod across Europe.
Starwood have now announced another step in the company’s journey to be more sustainable with the launch of easy-to-use guides to help associates select from a wide variety of pristine catch that protects their local communities and the environment while maintaining a sophisticated, culinary experience.
Created in partnership with the New England Aquarium, the back-of-house poster, purchasing pocket guide and supplemental instruction materials aim to guide associates to species they should avoid in their region and why they should be avoiding them. The guide offers alternative options, and provides a list of questions to determine if seafood is sustainable.
“The type of seafood and how it is caught and farmed has a huge impact on ocean health – which in turn affects our human health, our communities, our local economies and our business,” said Andrea Pinabell, Vice President of Sustainability at Starwood.
“Overfishing, declining seafood populations, and ocean and waterway degradation are increasing concerns. Sustainability is core to who we are and selecting premium seafood that is well sourced and traceable is already a point of pride among our chefs. Our goal is to help Starwood associates around the world make selections that protect the environment and local fishing economies, and create a better experience for consumers.”
Happily it’s not just our vulnerable fish species that are being recognised as unsustainable by hotels around the world. Last year Hilton announced an end to serving caged pork and eggs by the end of 2018. All Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton brands will be required to switch all egg usage to cage-free by the end of 2017, and all pork products must be purchased from suppliers that house breeding pigs in groups rather than gestation crates by the end of 2018.
And on the subject of how vulnerable our shark populations are from over fishing, if you’ve ever wondered just how many sharks are caught each year for soup. The answer is around 73 million. And that’s just one species!