In light of lingering concerns over seafood safety due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, local restaurateur Dewey Destin and Ariel Seafood owner David Krebs are teaming up with celebrity chef Rick Moonen and the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance to promote the Gulf Wild brand, a responsibly managed, safety-inspected, authentic and trackable Gulf seafood product.
“The oil spill really put an emphasis on being able to show the consumer that Gulf seafood is safe,” said Krebs, president of the non-profit’s board of directors. “We want the consumer to get what they pay for — a domestic, wild-caught piece of fish… to have the confidence to know it’s good for them.”
Gulf Wild is a unique new brand of U.S.-caught seafood that allows consumers to track their purchase in real-time back to the original fishermen who caught it, within a 10-mile square location of where it was caught. Environmentally conscious, working fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico engineered the brand.
Every fish caught gets a uniquely numbered gill tag and each tag number can be tracked on the mygulfwild.com website. The site provides information such as: the captain who caught the fish, and a bio; where it was caught; from what vessel and it’s background; the specific fish type; and the fish house and city where the fish was taken to.
To demo the mygulfwild.com tracking program, enter the tag number GSA1000200 or GSA1000100 into the tracking number box and click “track it.”
Krebs told The Log that the program would also help to eliminate fish being “substituted” in markets and restaurants, where fish such as catfish and hake were passed off as grouper, according to various reports.
As someone who is very familiar with the fishing industry and local seafood, Destin said that truthfully speaking, almost 88 percent of the fish that are served along the Gulf Coast are imported from somewhere else.
“I buy all of my local seafood here, from the fishermen and the markets,” Destin told The Log Wednesday. “I think that the tagging and tracking idea is neat though. It at least will help to highlight the people who are selling truly local seafood.”
Chef Rick Moonen (of Top Chef Maters fame) will be on hand at Dewey Destin’s Harborside restaurant April 10 from 3 to 5 p.m. to officially launch the Gulf Wild brand. Moonen, a sustainability advocate, will treat the invitation only crowd to a cooking demonstration and a discussion on sustainability.
Tours of participating Gulf Wild vessels will also be available in addition to a full demonstration of the unique gill-tagging program.
Krebs told The Log that the program is currently in its pilot phase and they have about 25 boats participating in the program so far.
“It’s a great opportunity and we are hoping that it will continue to ramp up over the next six months.”
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