The Slow Fish Community

The food communities of the Slow Fish network present their stories and experiences throughout the event.

These men and women represent a responsible fishing model which aims to safeguard the future of marine life and the well-being of their communities.

The communities of Slow Fish embody the idea that fishers are the herders of the sea, its true custodians. Why? Because they have the most intimate knowledge of fish behavior, because they know and love their local ecology, and because they are opposed to industrial activities which put marine biodiversity at risk. Long-line fishing, the never-ending search for oil and gas, underwater excavations and whatever else humans do to exploit our waters and compromise this most vulnerable resource: Slow Fish is the answer.

DELEGATES FROM ACROSS THE WORLD

They come from the nearby coasts of the Mediterranean, from Latin America, from Russia, South Korea, the USA, the Netherlands, Turkey and South Africa. They are fishers and representatives of fishing associations, researchers and cooks, experts and educators: the stakeholders of the sea. They come together in Genoa at Slow Fish, some of them for the first time, some as regular visitors for whom the event reinforces the sense of their work and their commitment to the sea. The public at Genoa’s Porto Antico can hear their stories in the Sea Stories program at the Slow Fish Arena or taste their specialties in Taste Workshops and Cooking Schools.

BLUE GROWTH

The delegates come to Genoa to meet each other and discuss their work, where they’ve had success and what worries them, drawing out a path of research and updates to share from one edition to the next. Among the questions we’re focusing on this year at the network meetings in Casa Slow Food are blue growth. This is an EU strategy dedicated to sustainable development in maritime environments, which should prioritize the well-being of coastal communities; the creation of co-management systems for marine resources which involve fishers, local administrations and civil society, the role of women in fishing in terms of gender equality and social sustainability, invasive species that can be both a resource and a threat to biodiversity.

THE WIDER MEDITERRANEAN

This last topic is what our Turkish delegates Fatma Esra Kartal and Mehmet Can Görgün focus on. In their native Gulf of Gökova they organize a gastronomic festival dedicated to these invasive species, which are moving up into the Mediterranean in search of more comfortable waters due to climate change, unbalancing the equilibrium of the food chain. In this part of Turkey the demand for these new fish grew by 400% between 2010 and 2015, with a consequent 20% rise in price, and 200% increase in earnings for the local fishers cooperative.

From Tunisia we have the Club Bleu Artisanal, who are developing a more sustainable value chain for small-scale artisan fishers. They bring fishers together with local restaurants to organize educational activities based around taste and conscious consumption. Among the proponents of this initiative at Slow Fish is Yassine Skandrine, representative of the small-scale fishers, who tells us the story of a holistic vision of fishers and marine resources, artisan fishing and aquaculture, and human actions on land and at sea.

Echoing these themes is Antonio García-Allut, Presidente of the Lonxanet Foundation in Spain. The Foundation has joined together a group of cooks who support local small-scale and sustainability-focused fishers. Through Restauramar the cooks adhere to a code of ethics and dedicate themselves to using fish from this virtuous value chain.

…AND BEYOND

From Colombia we welcome Octavio Perlaza Guerrero, who represents the NGO Fondo Acción and the Slow Fish Caribe project. This project brings together fishers’ organizations and networks dedicated to the development of sustainable food systems, with the goal of improving quality of life in coastal communities and the working/living conditions of women fishers.

The Slow Fish communities represent numerous different types of artisanal fishing, a sector which employs over 12 million people worldwide. Compared to industrial fishing, it has a minimal impact on the oceans and their resources.

THE SLOW FISH NETWORK IN NUMBERS

In Genoa you’ll get a small taste of the wider Slow Fish network. Across the world, this is composed of 147 food communities.  In addition, there are 266 products of the Ark of Taste, 22 branches of the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance and 8 international events which represent Slow Fish.