Sustainable Salmon Feeds Shamu at SeaWorld

Animal trainer Amber Cavett offers a piece of sustainable salmon for Shamu at SeaWorld Orlando.

Ever wonder where all that seafood consumed by SeaWorld’s guests and its wettest performers came from? Certainly not from the aquarium tanks. Although the Shark Encounter certainly looks to hold the capacity.

SeaWorld took a careful look at their sources for seafood and decided they could do more to be in line with their conservation mission. That’s why soon all of the seafood served to guests — and even the salmon fed to Shamu — will be purchased from sustainably-managed fisheries that promote environmentally responsible stewardship. This change affects more than 220,000 pounds of seafood and is on track for completion by early 2009.

Busch Entertainment Company, SeaWorld’s parent company, is working with the Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Certification Council in sourcing sustainable seafood options. Both are international, non-profit organizations that promote environmentally responsible fishing, fish farms, processing and food safety.

In partnering with the Rainforest Alliance, the parks also serve coffee and chocolate purchased from growers who meet demanding social and environmental standards. This global certification program ensures food is farmed and harvested in ways that protect wildlife, habitats and people.

Click below the cut for some other examples of how BEC is working to maintain its dedication to the environment.

Waste Management: Going Beyond the Recycling Bin

These efforts extend past what’s on the plates … to the plates. While some of the plates, forks, knives and spoons in many of the park restaurants look and feel like plastic, they are actually made from renewable resources such as sugarcane and vegetable starch.

The first of the theme park companies to incorporate such efforts, BEC worked with suppliers for more than a year to identify new products that could meet the demanding needs of parks that accommodate millions of guests a year. Products must be microwavable, freezer-safe, oil-resistant and capable of handling hot or cold food and beverages … and made from renewable resources.

The new products will replace 12.5 million pieces of dinnerware the parks dispose of each year.

The parks recycle more than 50 percent of all their waste, including animal and construction waste as well as traditional recycled materials. In 2007, the parks recycled more than 1 million pounds of food waste by sending it to soil amendment and mulching operations instead of landfills. Building on this success, each park continues to expand aggressive recycling programs with innovative new applications.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg employs a new single-stream recycling process in which every piece of recyclable material is removed by hand. This one program keeps more than 1,340 tons of trash out of area landfills – nearly the weight of the steel track for the park’s famous dive coaster, Griffon.

At Discovery Cove in Orlando, recycling takes “wing” with a new application. Feathers shed through molting by the park’s birds are collected and donated to the Feather Distribution Project, a program in which they are reused by the Pueblo tribe of the southwestern U.S. in traditional religious ceremonies, reducing the illegal trade in endangered macaws.

Busch Gardens Tampa recycles traditional materials like plastics and metals, and even 3 million pounds of animal manure each year.

H20: Reusing a Natural Resource

When irrigating and maintaining the park’s beautiful gardens and lush landscaping, horticulture teams conserve natural resources by reusing water – including collecting rain water and even condensation from air conditioners.

Innovative moisture sensing technology conserves water by factoring in plant material type, sun exposure, amount of rainfall, and seasonal adjustments when watering. In many areas throughout all the parks, Xeriscaping (from the Greek word “xeros” or “dry”) is employed, a technique using drought-resistant plants that require little or no irrigation such as cactus, agave and junipers.

Fuel: Paving the Way

BEC takes the high road in environmental programs with two new hydrogen-fueled guest shuttles at SeaWorld Orlando. The park joins forces with Ford Motor Company, Chevron and the Florida Energy Office as part of a pilot program to determine the efficiency of hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The shuttles’ hydrogen-powered engines deliver up to 99.7 percent reduction in C02 compared to gasoline engines.

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One Response to Sustainable Salmon Feeds Shamu at SeaWorld

  1. Amphigorey says:

    Good for SeaWorld for taking the initiative on sustainable seafood. I’ve been saying for years that Disney needs to sell sustainable seafood in its parks, instead of items like the incredibly harmful farmed Atlantic salmon that appears on most of their menus.

    I also applaud SeaWorld’s decision to use starch-based flatware instead of plastic. Disney really should take a cue from their competitor here. Using starch instead of plastic cuts down on so much waste, and it’s hardly different from plastic in terms of utility; most guests won’t even notice the change.

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