Second Annual “TASTE OF THE SEA” event Raised Funds and Awareness for Sea Delight Ocean Fund

MIAMI – The Sea Delight Ocean Fund charity hosted its second annual “Taste of the Sea” Masquerade Ball to raise funds and awareness for ocean conservation and sustainable seafood in South Florida. Sponsored by Where South Florida Magazine, the event was held on Friday, Oct. 16th  at Casablanca on the Bay in the Grand/Doubletree Hotel in Miami. This year’s festivities drew more than 300 ecologically conscious patrons who all had a fantastic evening and experienced delicious responsibly sourced seafood tasting.


This year, the all-star chefs participated in the “Fish-Off” Challenge where guests voted on their favorite seafood creation. Chef Michell Sanchez from Latin House Grill was the distinguished winner and took home the prize and bragging rights as the Big Fish of the night.

“It was an absolute pleasure and an honor to be involved with, compete in…and win the Taste of the Sea 2015 ‘Fish-off’ Challenge,” said Chef Sanchez. “We had a wonderful time sharing our passion for sustainable seafood with the guests and other participants. We look forward to next year’s event and promise to come up with something even better than what we did this year. #MadLove.”

Other participating restaurants and culinary organizations included The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Piccolo Ristorante, 180° @ the DRB, Casablanca on the Bay, Acentos & Paladares, Federación Latinoamericana de Gastronomía (USA and PR Chapter), The Fish House, The Art Culinary Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, and International Executive Guest Chef Yanick Comeau of Yuzu Sushi. Mimi’s Ravioli and Yayi’s participated in the dessert category.

Collaborating spirits included Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Wynwood Brewing Company, Zaya Rum, Casamigos Tequila and an array of wines from Alma Wines.

In addition to sampling some of the finest responsibly sourced seafood sponsored by Sea Delight and Pier 33 Gourmet and spirits, Sea Delight Ocean Fund brought together leaders in marine ocean conservation for an incredible interactive and educational Conservation area, including the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC), the Coastal Steward, Universo Marino, University of Miami Shark Research program, and Shark Team One.

“It was a fantastic event,” said Kerri Allen, Education Manager, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, “The best part was being able to speak to guests about threats facing sea turtles, such as by-catch and derelict fishing gear. It was great to be able to talk about sustainable fisheries and fishing practices in such a practical environment with guests enjoying sustainability-sourced seafood. This allowed them to realize how easy it is to make choices that can improve the health of our oceans, and that everyone has the power to make a difference.”

“We appreciated the opportunity to be involved with the 2nd annual Taste of the Sea event this year and to connect with other seafood chefs and organizations as we work together towards a more sustainable future,” said Sandra Cedrone, senior commercial manager – Americas, Marine Stewardship Council.

11225205_975923395813947_289651727139103971_n.jpgThis year we were also honored to have the support of local artist and creator of Ofishulz Istvan “Steve” Diossy, who donated one of his limited edition prints to our silent auction. “I appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the Sea Delight Ocean Fund,” Diossy said. “Through my work I am able to bring together ocean life represented through characters by my family and friends. And it is of course humorous, but more importantly, it is necessary for us to realize we are all connected, and making the oceans healthier will in turn create a better and more fulfilling life for us.”

Preferred Freezer Services also sponsored the event on its second year. According to Ryan D. Laurent, Atlantic Regional Director, “It was a pleasure to support Sea Delight and their Ocean Fund charity to raise awareness and support marine conservation. Casablanca on the Bay was a great venue. It had a great ambiance and fantastic food put out by all the local chefs. Preferred Freezer Services will continue to support the Sea Delight Ocean Fund. We look forward to attending another event in the future.”

“We were thrilled with the turnout for our second annual Taste of the Sea event,” said Adriana Sanchez-Lindsay, Sustainability Director of Sea Delight and President of the Sea Delight Ocean Fund. “It was incredible to have the support of these gifted culinary masters and these wonderful organizations dedicated to marine conservation. This year, we were also able to connect the work Sea Delight Ocean Fund does through fishery improvements projects and the overall goal of MSC certification for sustainable seafood.”




Nov. 1, 2015, Tuy Hoa, Phu Yen, Vietnam

Hosted by local tuna processing factory owner Mr. Hong Van Le and Sea Delight representatives Steve Fisher and Anh Tho an informal meeting was held here with local fishers. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce more fishers in Phu Yen province to the use of onboard logbooks for catch data collection and circle hooks for marine turtle bycatch mitigation.

Mr. Hong assembled 16 local longline/handline captains for the meeting who were not currently using logbooks or circle hooks.

1The informal meeting was held in a coffee shop beside the fishing port

The Phu Yen hook and line tuna fishery is unique in that in the neighboring provinces of Binh Dinh and Khanh Hoa most vessels have switched to exclusively handline fishing. Only in Phu Yen do some vessels still fish with longline gear or a mix of longline and handline.

It is also important to note that in Binh Dinh province 90% of fishermen use only circle hooks for tuna fishing while only 50% in Phu Yan and Khanh Hoa do.

The Phu Yen fleet also has a high rate of interaction with threatened and endangered marine turtles.

We began the meeting by discussing onboard logbooks. Mr. Hong and Sea Delight have already begun distributing copies of the logbook and completed examples of logbooks to Phu Yen handline fishermen in October but this was our first meeting with longline operators.

All of the captains had never seen the logbook. They reported that they fill out another type of logbook for the local fisheries authorities. This logbook records commercial catch information but is not detailed enough to be useful for collecting species-specific catch data.


Although not too excited about the logbooks, all agreed to try filling them out

We explained the logbook and completed example and then told them we hoped some of them would agree to try filling out the logbook on their next trip. We hoped they would then report on their experience to us when they came in from fishing. We reminded them this was voluntary and the completed logbooks would just be used for discussion when they returned, not passed on to anyone.

Some complained that it was a lot of work to fill out logbooks while fishing and were not too excited about our proposal. However, to our surprise, all 16 captains agreed to fill them out on their next trip.

We then turned the discussion to circle hooks. We told the captains we were looking for 2 longline vessels willing to try 50% C hooks on their next trip. We explained to them that there is scientific evidence that C hooks have at least as good catch rates as J hooks and that they tend to catch more live tuna than J hooks do on longline sets.

We showed them how the circular shape of the C hook allows the hook to roll in the tuna’s mouth when struck and set the hook in the Jaw. A jaw hookup means fewer fish escape and more will survive than a throat hooked fish caught on J hooks. We also showed them how the same circular shape makes it easy for a marine turtle to reject the C hook.

Two of the younger captains, Nguyen Thu Phat and Huynh Rao Nhin, were interested in trying the hooks. We asked Mr. Nhin if he ever encountered turtles.

“Yes, many. On nearly every trip” Was his reply.

“Do you keep the turtles you catch?” We asked.

“No that is not allowed. We are taught to release them.” All of the captains agreed with this.

Releasing turtles is good practice but reducing the chance of even hooking one by using C hooks is better. Both Mr. Phat and Mr. Nhin agreed to try 50% c hooks on their next trip. We explained how to fill out the catch record form and promised to meet them when they came in after the next fishing trip. We then presented each with 500 high-quality size 14 C hooks.

We closed the meeting by giving the fishermen extra copies of the logbooks and examples and encouraging them to get more captains to try it and report to us.

The next scheduled longline trips will return in December and Sea Delight will be there to report on the captain’s experiences with onboard logbooks and C hooks.


Meeting participants