Dining on tuna tartare in Indonesia’s spice islands, sampling fresh market produce in the Peruvian Amazon, discovering the secret recipes of a famed Master Chef — diverse and delicious culinary experiences are vital to understanding and appreciating local culture and community. But in today’s greener, cleaner travel world, it matters how that delicate seafood, tangy salad or succulent steak winds up on our plate.
It’s no secret that today’s discerning traveler is keeping tabs on the sustainability of their gastronomic adventures. From traceability to labor, local economies and social concerns – Aqua Expeditions is on a journey towards sustainable food sourcing; one that starts with local fishermen and farmers in small villages and continues into our ship’s creative kitchens.
Bali Sustainable Seafoods
Across our fleet, seafood is carefully sourced from local, small-scale fishing co-ops, working within the pristine and precious waters Aqua Expeditions sails and explores with our guests. Bali Sustainable Seafoods (BSS) has been the majority supplier across our Indonesian operations since 2019 – supplying fresh seafood for Aqua Blu expeditions.
Small-scale fisheries (SSF) provide crucial contributions to local communities — their livelihoods, food security, and the wellbeing of coastal populations worldwide depend on the sustainability of their daily catch. In Indonesia, 2.5 million households are involved in SSF production, yet these households have high poverty rates due to declining ecosystem health and climate change.
Our partners at BSS are committed to turning the tide for Indonesia’s hardworking fishermen and their families through sensitive, innovative, and sustainable fishing practices, especially on small vessels. This way of life ensures a steady supply of fresh, high-quality fish, and ensures the ocean’s ongoing health and longevity in the region.
Based in Bali, BSS is a leading developer of eco fisheries around Indonesia. Their goals are to protect the natural environment and ensure ecological sustainability by using low impact fishing methods that ensure the bounty of the ocean will be enjoyed by future generations.
Sustainability at Sea
Destructive bottom trawling and overfishing are destroying marine life and habitats. Low impact handline fishing avoids nets and allows for traceability of the fish. This artisanal and ancient method also avoids catching juvenile fish and by-catch of protected species like marine mammals, turtles, and sharks. These small-scale methods ensure the long-term viability of the fishery, which in turn passes on long-term community and social benefits.
Technology is also playing a role in empowering smaller scale fishing operators. Since 2019, BSS has donated handheld GPS devices to their tuna fishermen in Seram Island — vital technology which provides a wealth of useful information on borders, weather conditions and optimal locations for a larger catch. Once the fish are ethically caught, BSS portions up any produce ordered to within a 5-gram specification, maximizing waste reduction onboard our Aqua Blu vessel kitchen.
Education and empowerment
Educating local fishing communities on the benefits of sustainability is a vital part of the success of eco-fishing in Indonesia. BSS has established an ongoing partnership with the local Fairtrade Community in Toli Toli, Central Sulawesi, working with Head of Villages and Pak Sahid, chief of Fairtrade communities, to ensure local fishermen become Fairtrade-registered, drastically increasing their sales margin.
BSS also provides books to the local school library to empower and inform the next fishing generation. “We want kids to be proud of their parents … and understand that fishermen can change the world, by fishing in eco-friendly manners,” says a BSS project coordinator in Toli Toli. “Small things can change the big world!”
Aqua Expeditions partnership with Bali Sustainable Seafood for Aqua Blu ensures that future generations will be supported with a framework that empowers sustainable stewarding of local waters and fisheries, while boosting local economic value through Fairtrade initiatives.
Rainforest-to-table cuisine in the Peruvian Amazon
Aqua Expedition’s involvement in sustainable agricultural practices extends beyond Indonesia to our other destinations as well – including the unique natural environment of Amazonia.
Containing nearly a third of all tropical rainforest left on earth, the Amazon is home to an abundance of exotic ingredients, not found anywhere else on the planet. On board our small vessels Aqua Nera and Aria Amazon, 70% of all ingredients served are sourced from within Amazonia. Since 2022, we’ve worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society to source aquatic produce from local fishermen.
Our world-renowned chef, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, is a pioneer in rainforest-to-table cuisine, offering innovative, enticing dishes that highlight local producers, and promote resource sustainability and responsible management. Schiaffino has not only put Amazonian cuisine on the world map but is leading the way for sustainable food sourcing in the region.
As part of his commitment to food sustainability and preserving Amazonian food traditions, Schiaffino has undertaken various initiatives through his non-profit organization, Despensa Amazonica. The Tucupí Negro project involves responsibly sourcing a dark black sauce made from fermented yellow liquid extracted from grated yuca root, flavored with piquant Amazonian chilis, nutty macambo seeds and leafcutter ants.
A passionate and committed conservationist, Schiaffino partners with indigenous communities to weave their produce sustainably into his cuisine. From Spicy River Snails with Tapioca and Turmeric Sofrito to Roasted Cocona Salad and Coca Leaf Alfajores, Schiaffino’s cuisine is beyond memorable. His sophisticated plates connect diners to the history, culture, and natural wonders of his exotic and beautiful homeland.
Contact our expedition consultants today to embark on a culinary voyage that gives back to the planet and local food producers.