Joining more than 200 restaurant chefs on the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast, the Peabody Hotel Group has removed North Atlantic swordfish from all restaurant and banquet menus until a rebuilding plan is in place.
"We are very pleased that a hotel group as responsible and respected as the Peabody Hotel Group has decided to join the `Give Swordfish a Break' campaign," said Vikki Spruill, executive director of SeaWeb. "We hope that Peabody's decision will help motivate others in the hotel industry to join us to help protect North Atlantic swordfish."
Making this decision, Timothy S. Gonser, vice president of food and beverage, Peabody Hotel Group and The Peabody Orlando, noted that in 1960 the average size of swordfish caught was 266 pounds. In 1996, however, average size was just 90 pounds, 60 pounds below reproductive weight. While the legal minimum size for swordfish is only 44 pounds, well below reproduction weight, the species is seriously depleted and facing the same fate as the New England groundfish fisheries which occurred while similar government rules were in place supposedly to protect those populations.
"It seems fitting that in 1998, the Year of the Ocean, those of us who can make a difference in the hotel industry should join SeaWeb and the Natural Resources Defense Council in saving a species that is suffering because of overfishing and lack of realistic ocean management laws," said Gonser.
"Because of our hotel's tradition of the daily March of The Peabody Orlando Ducks, and the special role North American mallards play in our day-to-day hotel operations, the Peabody Hotel Group is extremely conscious of, and devoted to, conservation and preservation of nature and wildlife. Indeed, The Peabody Orlando is the first hotel sponsor of the Federal Duck Stamp, a $15 conservation stamp which buys and maintains wetland habitats for North America's migratory wildfowl," Gonser said.
Thousands of guests and meeting delegates convene at Peabody Hotel Group properties representing the full spectrum of North American business, commerce, medical, dental and pharmaceutical science, professional associations and their families. "By exercising constraint and answering the call to `Give Swordfish a Break,' we know we are acting as good corporate citizens and taking the stance the nation's professional meeting planners would wish for their clients," said Barry Anderson, vice president of marketing, Peabody Hotel Group and The Peabody Orlando.
The Peabody Orlando, a luxury, 891-room hotel on International Drive is located in the heart of the tourism capital of the world. "Orlando's hotels, restaurants and banqueting halls serve millions of visitors every year," said Alan C. Villaverde, vice president/general manager of The Peabody Orlando. "We believe Orlando can lead the country in declaring a moratorium on the fishing of North Atlantic swordfish until adequate conservation measures are adopted to preserve the species."
Peabody Hotel Group stresses that it is not "boycotting" North Atlantic swordfish, but establishing a "time out" period, so that the dwindling swordfish population can be replenished.
In a recent survey by Business Travel News, Peabody Hotel Group, with just eight hotels, soared to second position in the publications's Top U.S. Hotel Chain Survey in the Upper Upscale category, surpassing the nation's well-established hotel chain giants. The Peabody Orlando is a member of Preferred Hotels Resorts Worldwide.
|Also read: Right Idea, Wrong Solution By Richard E. Gutting Jr. Executive Vice President, National Fisheries Institute|