On the heels of two new seafood sourcing partnerships, The Lobster Trap is branding itself a “boat-to-table” operation. This commitment to sustainable suppliers, executive chef and partner Mike McCarty says, is paramount.
“Due to lack of effective management and poor regulations, a good deal of the world’s fisheries are overexploited or have collapsed completely,” says McCarty. “Being a restaurant that specializes in seafood, we felt a commitment to counter those negative effects.”
McCarty has partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program — a group that recommends or warns against seafood suppliers based on the effects these fishing and farming operations have on the environment — to “allow seafood lovers in Western North Carolina to enjoy the freshest of seafood, while at the same time ensuring that we are sourcing the most sustainable and environmentally friendly products available.”
McCarty has agreed, as part of his official partnership with the Seafood Watch, to abide by the program’s supplier recommendations based on a number of criteria like fishing methods and the danger of overfishing species. The organization, he says, was able to offer a more personalized relationship than the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a group that also makes sustainable sourcing recommendations.
Even before the partnership with Seafood Watch, though, the logistics of upholding selective sourcing practices have presented strains for the Lobster Trap.
“One challenge is the cost associated with shipping the freshest of seafood,” the chef explains. “The product is flown in to our purveyor and delivered to us the next day, and sometimes environmental factors play a role. For example, we source a lot of our seafood from up north, so this last winter, when they were hit with so much snow, we, too, felt the effect of the harsh winter with trouble sourcing lobster, mussels and oysters.”
The Lobster Trap has oysters flown in from Maine every other day, while fish and oysters are transported from the North Carolina coast via a company called Inland Seafood. McCarty’s newest supplier is a particular point of pride. Family farm Island Creek Oysters of Duxbury Bay, Mass., ships directly to the White House — and now, to the Lobster Trap.
“We are excited to be the only restaurant in North Carolina to carry these tasty, responsibly grown oysters,” McCarty says.
The Lobster Trap is at 35 Patton Ave. in downtown Asheville. Visit thelobstertrap.biz for more information.