For National Seafood Month 2018, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program hosted a photo challenge on social media asking chefs, restaurants and everyday sea-foodies to post an appealing photo of a sustainable seafood dish each week in October. Each week included a broad culinary theme to guide the weekly entries and for participants to show off their creative culinary skills. The weekly themes included Fish Tacos, Bivalves, Seafood Pasta and Finfish. Seafood Watch, a program that creates science-based sustainable seafood recommendations, also asked participants to provide the sourcing information for their seafood and say the Seafood Watch rating in the photo‘s caption, encouraging participants to investigate the seafood they are purchasing and putting those sustainable seafood recommendations into practice. Finally, the hashtag #SeafoodMonthChallenge was used to aggregate the entries on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“The photo challenge was a really fun way to get people involved in National Seafood Month. It’s a creative way for folks to show off their cooking skills and favorite recipes while raising awareness about sustainable seafood,” says Seafood Watch Engagement Coordinator, Peter Adame.

As an incentive and to create some competition during the National Seafood Month Photo Challenge, Seafood Watch worked with some of their larger corporate business partners to provide some enticing prizes, including gift cards from Blue ApronDisney and Whole Foods Market. And to top it off, Lindblad Expeditions, a unique cruise expedition company that works in partnership with National Geographic and Seafood Watch, donated two expedition cruise packages as the grand prize. That’s right – participants could win a five-day expedition cruise for two to Baja California or the Channel Islands in California simply by posting photos of sustainable seafood. To help make the photo competition more inclusive for all parties, Seafood Watch awarded two winners each week, a professional chef winner and an at-home chef winner.

Seafood Watch kicked off the National Seafood Month Photo Challenge in October 2017 and had about 200 entries during the first year of the competition. This past year in 2018, they doubled their participation with over 400 entry posts from chefs, restaurants and everyday seafood lovers. Notable participants included Red Lobster, District 7 Wines, sustainable seafood advocate Barton Seavers and even a fun entry from Santa Barbara Zoo of a caiman lizard with a beautiful arrangement of clams on the half shell garnished with peppers, cilantro and a twist of lemon (only green Best Choices for this fancy lizard!).

View the winning photos and top entries.