Sustainable seafood comes to campus

Author: Rachel Novick


On November 25, Notre Dame became the first major U.S. college to earn chain-of-custody certification from the Marine Stewardship Council, a global nonprofit organization that has developed the world’s leading environmental standard for certifying sustainable and well-managed wild capture fisheries.

“There’s a lot more awareness of diet than when I was a student,” said Notre Dame executive chef Don Miller, a member of the Food Services Social Responsibility Committee that led the effort to achieve certification. “More students are looking at healthy food choices, understanding that that will lead to a more active lifestyle.” He said students are giving more thought not only to their health but also to the environment, and leading scientists have drawn increasing attention in recent years to the global decline of fish stocks.

Recent scientific studies show that 29% of commercial fish and seafood populations have already collapsed and two thirds of marine fisheries are being fished at or above capacity. “MSC is the world recognized road map for improving marine conservation,” said Miller. “MSC fisheries use sustainable management practices designed to safeguard jobs, secure fish stocks and protect the marine environment.”

Following the completion of the certification process, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago nominated Notre Dame for a Seafood Champion Award. “More often a nomination is made by one business associated with another business,” said Miller. “What makes our nomination highly unusual is that we have been nominated by the Shedd Aquarium, a non-profit that is nationally recognized for its work on marine conservation.”

The university just received its first two shipments of MSC-certified product: 2,000 pounds each of Alaska salmon and pollock.