New ratings: Some restaurant chains failing basic seafood sustainability test

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 17 November 2015

We’ve teamed up with Fish2Fork, the online guide that rates restaurants on seafood sustainability.

s We’ve teamed up with Fish2Fork, the online guide that rates restaurants on seafood sustainability. Our first project together has been to rate the larger restaurant chains. Here’s what we found… It turns out that more than half the UK’s large restaurant chains are using seafood from overfished areas or fail to be transparent about the origins of their fish and shellfish. Sea bass, whitebait, cod and king prawns are among the types of seafood used by the restaurants which come from fisheries rated “avoid Ø by MCS, or for which the source is unclear. The twelve chains boast a total of more than 1,800 branches between them, and serve thousands of tonnes of seafood each year. Seven of the chains failed to reach the basic level of sustainability on seafood that Fish2fork and MCS believe to be the minimum standard. Yo! Sushi and Pret A Manger were found to be the most sustainable chains and followed highly responsible approaches to buying seafood. Yo! Sushi, which serves more species of seafood than any of the other chains assessed, was given a Fish2fork 4 blue fish rating while Pret achieved an excellent 4.5 blue fish (out of 5). Sam Fanshawe, Marine Conservation Society Chief Executive says: “MCS advice on seafood sustainability has already influenced major supermarkets to adopt sustainable sourcing policies and the restaurant sector needs to follow suit. We’re very encouraged that major high street chains like Pret A Manger and Yo! Sushi are leading the way, demonstrating that sustainable seafood is good for business as well as the environment. Ø Tim Glover, co-founder and managing director of Fish2fork, said: “Some restaurant chains are making every effort to ensure the seafood they put on their menus is caught sustainably or farmed responsibly. But 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, to know that their menu choices are not further damaging our hard-pressed seas”. The ratings: Blue rated: Pret a Manger Yo! Sushi Wagamama Hungry Horse Table Table Zizzi Red rated: Caf├â ® Rouge Harvester Ask Chiquito Frankie & Benny’s Bella Italia 4.5 blue 4 blue 3.5 blue 2.5 blue 2.5 blue 1 blue 0.5 red 0.5 red 1 red 1 red 1 red 1.5 red Update 02/12/2015 Following publication of the original results of this survey, the Wagamama chain (originally rated 0.5 Red) has supplied information to us which has enabled us to rate its performance with a 3.5 blue fish rating. See for full details. The restaurant chains assessed in the project all have at least 50 branches nationwide, have a seating area, and serve at least four species of seafood. Fish2fork ratings are on a scale of 5 red fish, the worst, to 5 blue fish, the best. With 5 red fish at the bottom of the scale, ratings improve, half a fish at a time, to rise to 4.5 red fish, 4 red fish and so on until 0.5 red fish. From here, ratings rise from 0.5 blue fish to 5 blue fish. Read the full press release here View the restaurant ratings at

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Did you know?…

41% of North East Atlantic stocks including those around the UK are subject to overfishing

Farmed fish and shellfish production will have to increase by 133% by 2050 to meet projected seafood demand worldwide

Farmed marine fin fish production in Scotland is estimated to increase by 30% between 2014-2020

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