Making a splash – Ecoventura recognizes World Oceans Day 2023

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

The world’s oceans benefit humanity and the planet in countless ways. And given we sail the seas around the Galapagos every day of the year, we should know!

Covering over 70% of the planet, the ocean transports heat from the equator to the poles, regulating climate and weather patterns. It is responsible for producing over half of the earth’s oxygen and is home to a huge proportion of the world’s biodiversity.

Our seas are crucial for trade and the economy, with ocean-dependent businesses employing millions, and generating billions, in goods and services. The ocean allows us to enjoy a host of activities, ranging from snorkeling and diving to fishing, boating and whale watching – anyone who has been on an Ecoventura voyage will have grasped this on their voyage.

What’s more, numerous medicinal products originate from the ocean, including ingredients that help fight cancer, dementia, heart disease and autoimmune diseases.

The ocean provides protein for more than a billion people around the world – more on this later – but in addition to seafood, ingredients from the sea are found in numerous other dishes too.

Danger in the Deep

But the clock is ticking. Our precious waters are under threat from harmful human activity. Humans are dependent on the ocean but are currently taking more from it than can be replaced. Overfishing has led to 90% of big fish populations being depleted, pollution is rife and 50% of coral reefs have died. Never has it been more important to do our bit to nurture and conserve the oceans. As UN Secretary General António Guterres notes, “we urgently need collective action to revitalize the ocean. That means finding a new balance in our relationship with the marine environment”.

Enter, then, United Nations World Oceans Day, which takes place on June 8 2023. This year’s theme is “Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing”, and Ecoventura in partnership with Relais & Chateaux, is proud to be making this important event, as we do every year and celebrate sustainable seafood.  This concept reminds us of the need to protect species already threatened by overfishing and whose reproduction is weakened by climate change.

After all, sailing luxury expedition yachts around the idyllic Galapagos Islands, we have always been aware of the need to cherish and protect this fragile ecosystem. And whilst we have, for many years, supported a range of conservation organisations in the Galapagos, it’s also great to do what we can to protect the Big Blue as well.

What’s more, as the only Relais & Châteaux vessels operating in the Galapagos, we’re delighted that Relais & Chateaux features sustainability at the core of its own operations, collaborating with Ethic Ocean since 2009 and regularly gathering its members together for events such as World Oceans Day, whilst also championing biodiversity conservation, community involvement, responsible purchasing and sustainable sourcing amongst its members.

World Oceans Day itself started back in 1992 following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Support for the movement has broadened and deepened since those early days, and now it is celebrated by millions of people in countries all around the world, keen to work together to educate, inform and mobilize people and help protect the ocean for generations to come.

Food for thought

Here at Ecoventura, we celebrated the event on our weekly voyage departing Sunday June 4 2023, so that all guests could be a part of this year’s World Oceans Day.

Executive chef Andres Robles was sailing on board our newest luxury expedition yacht, Evolve. During the voyage, he ran a cookery class on June 8 to emphasise the importance of the sustainability of the ocean and the produce it provides. Andres explains: “I like to use everything that nature gives us, respecting the whole product and not just the main part. It is common for chef’s cooking with fish to use just the fillets, but the head, tail, neck, fin and scales are often wasted because people are not as familiar with them. We as cooks try to respect the sacrifice of an animal, using it completely, without wasting anything”.

During the cookery class, Andres taught the participants a ceviche recipe, using the Canchalaguas – a firm, black-shelled mollusc endemic to the Galapagos. Whilst little known worldwide, it is plentiful on the archipelago and a popular delicacy among locals, who often refer to canchalaguas ceviche as an aphrodisiac dish.

In addition to the cookery course, Andres also served our lucky passengers a special dish he put together for the occasion. Using a local fish known as Huayaipe – sometimes known as Longfin Yellowtail – a variety native to the seas of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, Andres selected this dish for Relais & Chateaux’s own SEAsonality campaign in honour of this year’s World Oceans Day.

Like the Canchalaguas, the Huayaipe is abundant, affordable and delicious. Andres explains his selection, made to encourage people to avoid overfished species and eat locally sourced, sustainable alternatives. “The consumption of other fish species dominates the market, and ignorance of how Huayaipe can be cooked makes it under-appreciated. But the Huayaipe comes with great advantages; it reproduces quickly, it is easily found, it is affordable for the entire population and it’s delicious! It just needs a little more exposure.”

The dish itself is grilled Huayaipe with a prune demi-glace sauce, celeriac purée, yucca and zucchini millefeuille, which was served on World Oceans Day itself up on our sundeck, so guests could enjoy this mouth-watering meal with the backdrop of the Galapagos Islands passing by.

Ecoventura goes to great lengths to ensure that the cuisine produced on board is as sustainable as possible – over 50% of the ingredients we use are sourced locally from artisan producers based in the Galapagos themselves, whilst we have introduced an Ecuadorian wine called Dos Hemisferios as our house red and white to reduce wine-miles. Imported fish such as salmon are out, whilst local alternatives are in, such as “brujo” (scorpion fish), or Galapagos spiny lobster which is available in abundance between August and December.

We are proud to support local artisanal fishermen, with Andres noting that their fishing practices tend to be more humane and less harmful to the environment and marine ecology. The menu is updated throughout the year to ensure we use produce that is bountiful during any particular season, with a focus on locally-sourced, seasonal and healthy ingredients.

We can all do our part to respect the ocean and restore the balance so that rather than depleting it of its vital resources, we work to replenish and protect it for the years ahead.

Do contact our team to find out more so that you too can be part of Ecoventura’s sustainable journey.