In 2009, while attending the Sustainable Food Institute at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I was curious to learn more about sustainable seafood first hand. I wanted to visit a sustainable seafood operation and see what was entailed. I found out there was a small company in town that raised abalone on their farm on the wharf. Well, actually it’s under the wharf, as part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Art Seavey has been raising abalone at Monterey Abalone Company since 1994. Trained in aquaculture, with an advance degree in Ecology, Seavey and his business partner Trevor Fay, work hard to keep the water of the Monterey Bay pristine. Their methods of harvesting the kelp have no adverse impact on the plant nor its environs, and because the abalone require clean water to thrive they have educated those around them about the importance of keeping the bay free from pollutants.
Similar to traditional farms of the land, Seavey noted that there aren’t many young people turning to aquaculture as a career. He’s not sure why, but he’s glad he has made a career of it. It’s environmentally and financially sustainable. He is quick to note that it’s not a get rich quick scheme. “Certainly abalone farming is not a get rich scheme. We’re not driving Porsche’s and we’re not going on long vacations, but we do have employees here that have been here for years, who do a great job, and we support as best as we can. We really care for them. So we think we’re financially sustainable as well as environmentally sustainable.”
As an added bonus, farmed abalone is listed on the Seafood Watch Guide as a Best Choice.