Paul Allen launches Smart Catch program for sustainable fish

Paul Allen is launching a new campaign designed to help people find restaurants that serve sustainable seafood, caught in an environmentally responsible way.

Some of Seattle’s top chefs, including Ethan Stowell and Tom Douglas, have already signed on.

Brandon Karow, culinary director for Ethan Stowell restaurants, said the new Smart Catch program will be a lot of help.

“We don’t have all day to research the seafood,” he said. “We do the best that we can.”

“We want to make sure the program is viable, that it works for chefs, that it gives them the tools, the training, the support that they need,” Vulcan Senior Director of Philanthropic Initiatives Dune Ives said.

To be a Smart Catch participant, restaurants go through a multi-step process and commit to a goal of being 90 percent sustainable within 18 months.

They're featured on the Smart Catch website and get a logo in their window, so diners can find them easily.

“We are excited for consumers to look for the Smart Catch logo in the windows of restaurants and on menus, ask questions of the chefs and their staff and really become more knowledgeable about where seafood comes from,” Ives said.

Pike Place Fish Market fishmonger Chris Bell said they are excited about the program; the fish market has been 100 percent sustainable since 2011.

“Everything we sell here is not threatened, not endangered,” Bell said.

More than 40 restaurants have signed on, and Vulcan hopes to add more as the pilot program expands.

Smart Catch website: