Four Fish times Forty to the Fore – Documenting Oral Histories of Environmental
Paul Greenberg’s book Four Fish was pivotal in the manner in which it brought fish farmers’ stories to readers in captivating, compassionate prose. This style of telling stories from fish farms had previously been rare. But why just stop at four? Should we not be fostering as many aquaculture producers’ stories as possible? Why not four times forty? Or more?
At a SENA session in Boston, last year (“Consumer Acceptance and the Role of Aquaculture in our Food Future”), the consensus among attendees was that aquaculture needed to better tell its stories. (See attached blog post from Panelist Paul Raab). To improve consumer acceptance of aquaculture, we need to celebrate the social and environmental benefits of our farms. We need to demystify the industry, and put a human face on the producers. We need to help consumers understand that we farmers are deeply committed to minimizing the ecological footprint of our operations, and to maximizing the social welfare of the communities in which we work. And we need to make these stories more readily available to journalists, to distributors, to chefs, and to consumers.
We are therefore proposing, at SENA 2017, to convene a session as an open forum for any and all attendees to share their stories of where aquaculture has worked well … really well! A panel of aquaculture industry workers will provide examples from their experiences. In an open mike / Town Hall format, audience members will be encouraged to provide their own anecdotes, to broaden the available evidence of such benefits. Each speaker – panel and audience – will be limited to five minutes for each story, to allow for maximum breadth of participation. (If participation from the audience is slow, then panelists can provide additional examples). The session will be recorded, and will be transcribed, and made available through a number of portals – NAA, Ocean Stewards Institute, SeaWeb, etc – as both a resource for industry advocates, or for the curious consumer, and as a start-point for journalists to find story leads. Let’s start spreadin’ the news!