Yesterday, we received word from Boston Local Leader, chef Rich Garcia that Steve Arnold’s fishing vessel the Elizabeth Helen sank in the winter waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Steve and his partner Chris have consistently been leaders in sustainable fishing practices around southern New England. Forgetting for a moment the high quality of the fish they bring in, their use of Trace and Trust technology through their Wild Rhody brand constantly provides a jumpstart for the all too important conversation about the state of our oceans. Whether it be among chefs, when Wild Rhody came to speak at our inaugural meeting of the Boston Local this past fall, or through larger venues, such as when Rhode Island Local Leader, chef Derek Wagner spoke of Steve and Chris’ work in The New York Times.

I could go on with examples but the point is this: fishermen have no easy lives. Their work has always been dangerous, and in recent years they’ve seen new and necessary fishery management make earning a decent living increasingly difficult. Steve Arnold, like so many fishermen, is invaluable to the food sustainability community. Both in the superb quality of product he provides to our chefs, but also in the way his and Wild Rhody’s practices foster and support discussion of the hard facts around seafood.

Saturday was an absolutely stunning day here in New England. The skies were clear and the thermostat hung lazily in the mid to high 50’s. But as we were in our cars, our homes, our kitchens, or our backyards, Steve and his crew were out to sea facing harrowing prospects. Thanks to the efforts of the United States Coast Guard, all made it back to land safe if not sound. We here at Chefs Collaborative hope for the best for all involved and urge you all out there reading this to remember where your food comes from.