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Sustainable Seafood Series # 10- The Wooden Monkey

The Wooden Monkey strives to support sustainable agriculture from land to sea. As part of their mission statement, co-owner Lil McPherson says that, “WM makes a continued effort to offer healthy local and organic food choices while also providing awareness on environmental issues.”

People choosing sustainable seafood are avoiding endangered species making them part of the solution. Their choices will also influence the way producers fish. We have to prevent the ‘clear cutting’ of the ocean. The ocean is vast and resilient and can continue to provide us with food if we just give it a chance to replenish and cleanse.

The Wooden Monkey makes conscious choices to partner with suppliers who provide local sustainable food (as indicative of their 40+ local suppliers). By doing so, their business provides a good platform to bring awareness and education on environmental issues. They have also consulted the Ecology Action Center in the past to get their advice and note that it’s “great that there are organizations out there doing the ‘grunt work’ when it comes to seeking out the best choices available.”

When approaching a supplier, the WM inquires as to how the fish was caught or the process behind it if it was farmed. McPherson discusses the difficulties that arise when there is conflicting information about a certain farming process; the closed container units are useful if they have the proper filtration process and don’t interfere with other fish in their natural environment, but usually the case is they have to supplement with antibiotics. “All of our suppliers know what the mandate of our restaurant is and they are conscious of the product they are providing” McPherson says. “There is a lot of trust when it comes to seafood and it takes a while to build a rapport with a supplier.”

When it comes to sustainable seafood, The Wooden Monkey serves:

  • Hook and Line-Caught Haddock and Lobster from Sambro Fisheries
  • Mussels from Ship Harbor, Indian Point, or Prince Edward Island
  • Dulse from AC Covert
  • Kelp Alginate Extract from Aqua Nutrients. This is an extract from the Digitata Laminaria Kelp Seaweed of Nova Scotia. Containing everything essential for human life (including 15 Vitamins, 5 Naturally Chelated Minerals, 8 Essential Amino Acids and 4 Digestive Enzymes), this kelp is also one of the ocean’s best renewable resources available in Nova Scotia.

As long as it’s sustainably caught or produced, the WM sometimes serves long line by-catch Halibut, Farmed Arctic Char from Truro, hand dived oysters and Yellow Fin Tuna (troll/pole) from Mike’s Fish Shop. McPherson adds that, “They (Mike’s Fish Shop) are very aware of our concerns regarding sustainable seafood and only provides us with fish he knows we would want.” McPherson adds that, “If he only has long line caught Tuna, he doesn’t offer it to us.”

McPerson goes on to say, “We can encourage sustainable seafood through informed choices and partnerships with sustainable producers.” She concludes,”We want to educate our customers and make them realize that the power of the consumer is a very powerful force!”


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