Restaurants urged to serve more sustainable seafoodDecember 2015
More than half Britain’s large restaurant chains are reported to be serving fish and seafood from overfished areas or to be hiding their origins.
They are said to be offering species including cod, sea bass, whitebait and king prawns caught in fisheries that the Marine Conservation Society advises should be avoided.
The online restaurant guide Fish2fork and the society, an NGO formed to protect Britain’s seas and coasts, published their findings after a joint assessment of a dozen large chains with more than 1,800 branches between them.
Seven of the chains failed to reach their minimum seafood sustainability levels and two thirds of the restaurants served at least one species that could have come from an overfished area.
The report gave Fish2fork red ratings, indicating undesirable sourcing, to Ask, Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Chiquito, Frankie & Benny’s, Harvester and Wagamama.
Blue ratings, awarded for responsible sourcing, went to Hungry Horse, Pret A Manger, Table Table, YO! Sushi and Zizzi.
Table Table’s spokeswoman said: “In working with Fish2fork we hope that more consumers have a greater understanding of the role they play in choosing sustainably caught fish.”
Tim Glover, co-founder and managing director of Fish2fork, said: “We believe the sector as a whole should be putting much more effort into sourcing practices and the information given to customers. Diners want to eat with a clear conscience.”
Fish2fork and the society are now preparing to merge.
At the same time, a newly formed collaboration between fishermen and conservationists is helping to protect a reef of 90 square miles in Lyme Bay, Dorset.
The charity Blue Marine Foundation, which created the scheme, claims fishermen in the Lyme Bay ports have improved their business through conservation and transparency on sourcing.
Fishermen selling under the foundation’s Reserve Seafood brand are reporting higher prices paid by respected London restaurants for fully traceable fish. The foundation claims the ethical practices guarantee fishermen’s livelihoods.
Under the scheme the foundation installs chiller rooms, ice-makers and freezer units for fishermen in West Bay, Lyme Regis, Beer and Axmouth on the Dorset and Devon coast, provided they accept a strict conservation code and electronic monitoring.
The agreement limits the number of nets and pots used and requires all boats to have their positions and catches monitored by a mobile-based system.
The foundation hopes to expand the scheme to other fishing grounds.
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