Surfrider's "Catch of the Day"

Ed Note: Boingboing's current guest blogger Gareth Branwyn writes on technology, pop and fringe culture. He is currently a Contributing Editor at Maker Media. Recent projects have included co-creating The Maker's Notebook and editing The Best of MAKE and The Best of Instructables collections.

Annie from Provisions Learning Project writes:
In their continuing efforts to battle the ever growing mounds of garbage polluting our oceans and coastlines, Surfrider Foundation joined forces with Saatchi & Saatchi LA to sponsor the aptly titled Catch of the Day guerrilla ad campaign. Trash was collected from beaches across the US, then sorted, packaged like seafood, and strategically placed around local farmers’ markets. Directly targeting seafood consumers, this creative campaign draws attention to the gross debris littering our oceans and highlights how this pollution affects the consumer directly through the food they eat. Even if you’re not partial to seafood, its hard to miss the message!
It's eco-guilt meets the Barbie Liberation Organization! [Full Disclosure: I am on the Board of Directors of Provisions Learning Project]


  1. Do they at least have permission from the vendors before they mix this in with their produce? If I saw this I would just avoid that vendor at all costs, so really aren’t they directly targeting people selling food and not the consumers?

  2. Umm, I went to Saatchi & Saatchi’s site, out of curiosity and they would not let me see any of their previous work without clicking on a legal disclaimer.


  3. ….mmmm, Coney Island white fish! But seriously, shouldn’t this project be targeting big name grocery chains, rather than “local farmer’s markets”? I think the larger stores fuel the industrialized depletion of the oceans, and the smaller markets are often offering regionally produced items. The mindless masses are the ones truly in need of this message.

  4. I don’t think that farmers’ markets are really the right conduit for this message. Consumers who shop there are already usually more environmentally conscious, and the vendors are generally more responsible, too. They should place them in major retail chains where they would reach their target market and not hurt the businesses at the markets.

  5. I am in the ad biz and I think these are fair enough and well done. You can’t deny that is what is going on. Farmed seafood isn’t that healthy either so I don’t know what to do. I can’t live without seafood. If you count Crawfish as seafood then I would rather starve.

    Dat’s the way it is in the NOLA. People sell seafood they caught that day on the side of the road. Of course out the brackish lake here is cleaner than ever. Much better than it was when I was a kid. We took responsibility for our local environment about 20 years ago.

  6. I’d think this would be a legal minefield waiting to happen. What’s the Surfrider Foundation going to do when a merchant sues them for the cost of the merchandise that had to be thrown out because the merchant couldn’t verify that the package hadn’t contaminated the food plus the damage to their business and reputation?

  7. Surely there is a better way to accomplish awareness besides punishing patrons of local farmers markets, and the local fish farmers. Not a fan.

  8. mmm… about two decades ago I’d comb a diving beach beach in the middle of the Pacific for something to do, and make a bonfire of the plastic and wipe the strand clean….for one tide…

  9. Seriously, $1.36 for condom strips? Who would pay that price? I can get them fresh locally for less than half the price!

  10. I almost feel like creating an account to be able to favorite this, but alas, I’m probably never going to do that, and this site is blocked from

    This is what this site is about. Culture hacking and societal commentary mixed with a heavy dose of zaniness… That said, out of context in a supermarket aisle this could mean absolutely nothing… People would tend to blame the store rather than make the connection to polluters on the beach.

  11. The power of the images will suffice.

    Dumping these objets d’art in the packaged seafood section of some supermarket isn’t going to make someone think about being responsible with their garbage — it will simply keep them away from the seafood counter.

  12. I uh… would totally be disgusted and pissed off if someone put any of those in with food or near food. To the point of it completely missing the point.

    Hell maybe we can wrap up fresh dog shit to help dog owners become better at bagging it up. Buckets of phlegm to help stop people from spitting on the sidewalk. Load up shopping bags with used needles. Shrink wrapped cow heads to raise awareness of inhumane slaughter house practices.

  13. Disclaimer: I am completely disgusted by what I have found on beaches around the world. We are, as a race, complete pigs about picking up after ourselves, and I’ve been actively involved in cleaning up coastlines and rivers for years.


    It’s all fun and games until a federal inspector shows up on the day that Surfrider has decided to plunk these down in a vendor’s display at the farmer’s market. Hey, even a grossed-out customer who makes a phone call or two.

    The seafood vendor gets shut down, at least temporarily, but possibly permanently — and the farmer’s market folks may drop him from their vendor list for having had violations.

    Congratulations. Your statement about waste on the beaches has just cost somebody AT MINIMUM thousands of dollars in fines, inventory he had to throw away because it’s now contaminated (and yeah, biological waste like used condoms is particularly egregious in the eyes of the regulators).

    At maximum, you’ve cost him his business and his livelihood.

    Wow, I bet you feel better about yourself and your statements.

    Make the statement — but find a better microphone. Rent a space in the market and have this stuff as a display, completely separate from somebody else’s business.

  14. The link @22 kind of makes it sound like Surfrider set up a stand at a local farmer’s market to “sell” these items. In that context, I can see it being educational and a good way to start discussion about the problem.

  15. So… I think that anyone who is shopping at a local farmer’s market for their seafood has some idea already of the negative impacts of ocean/beach dumping. Sorry, guys, wrong target.

  16. it helps I suppose, but if you could see the thickness and size of the layer… A custom bug that eats plastic and thrives under hard UV would be nice. High saline tolerance.

  17. They’re obviously more concerned with their “statement” making waves than anything else. Otherwise they wouldn’t be wrapping trash in plastic film and styrofoam.

  18. Sounds like Surfrider will become the next PETA in the Attention Whoring Posing As Activism department.

  19. Does it bother anyone else that they are wrapping garbage in cellophane and styrofoam, thus compounding the problem?

  20. You all are obviously confusing “generally knowing/caring about the problem” with “actually doing something about it or paying someone else to do something about it”

    and there’s no better audience to target with your message of “pay me to do something about this” than slightly-guilt ridden and slightly well-off consumers

    I do not think that they mixed this in with unaware vendors’ seafood – c’mon have a little common sense people

  21. Hey, Robin Hood — take another read.

    It says “strategically placed around local farmers’ markets” — that sounds like it’s absolutely possible they laid it right in there with someone’s merchandise.

    Doesn’t make sense, I agree…but not every well-intentioned gesture has been fully thought through before its utilization.

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