This past January, in Beverly Hills, CA, photographer Nigel Barker and Food Network’s Iron Chef Cat Cora joined forces to shed light on the Canadian seafood industry – in particular the hunting of Harp seals. This is fine dining with a mission. The event’s goal is to recruit chefs and restaurants in the boycott of Canadian seafood. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Canada’s commercial seal hunt is responsible for the deaths of nearly one million seals in just the past five years, though Sealing itself accounts for less than 5 percent of the average annual income for commercial fishermen.
With a star-studded guest list that included celebrities such as Mena Suvari, Hal Sparks, and Lisa Edelstein (TAILS March cover girl), this year’s Chefs for Seals event showcased Barker’s photography of a Harp seal nursery he visited in 2008 for a documentary on the very same topic – and, of course, delicious Canadian seafood-free meals were had by all.
To date, more than 5,000 U.S. restaurants and grocery stores have joined the ProtectSeals Campaign. Some of the national corporations participating in the boycott include Whole Foods Markets, Ted’s Montana Grill, Trader Joe’s, BI-LO, WinCo Foods, Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Bon Appetit Management Company, and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafes.
Check out some video from the event here: