How sustainable is the fish on your fork?

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 19 June 2015

How sustainable is the fish on your fork? MCS partnership with campaigning restaurant guide Fish2fork will make finding out easier Choosing a restaurant where you can eat seafood with an easy conscience can be a bind.

How sustainable is the fish on your fork? MCS partnership with campaigning restaurant guide Fish2fork will make finding out easier Choosing a restaurant where you can eat seafood with an easy conscience can be a bind. Are the prawns certified, is the sea bass farmed, where does the cod come from? Do the waiters even know? Lewis Smith from Fish2fork explains how the campaigning website has been helping answer those questions and more but will now be expanding it’s work in partnership with MCS. Fish2fork makes it that much easier to choose a sustainable restaurant having rated hundreds in the UK according to the sustainability of their seafood and their approach to the marine environment. It tells you which restaurants make huge efforts to source their seafood responsibly and which pay far too little attention to where their ingredients come from. It identifies restaurants serving é’fish to avoid’ such as bluefin tuna, and those that seek out sustainable é’fish to eat’ choices like Icelandic cod and handline caught mackerel from UK waters. Sound familiar? Well, Fish2fork has always relied on the MCS’s FishOnline guide to seafood - itself based on the best available science - and now the two organisations have teamed up to ensure hundreds more restaurants are graded on their approach to using fish and shellfish. “We’re delighted to be partnering the MCS, Ø says Fish2fork managing director and co-founder Tim Glover. “We share exactly the same belief in taking firm but positive action to ensure the health of our seas. In the end, it benefits not just the seas but the fishermen, restaurants and coastal communities that depend upon healthy catches. Ø Fish2fork grew from the success of The End of The Line documentary film and book by journalist Charles Clover, and the desire to keep the pressure up to halt the irresponsible plunder of waters around the world. Tim and Charles set Fish2fork up in 2009 to drive change in the restaurant industry, praising the best and shaming the worst. It was a tactic that brought quick results. Analysis two years later revealed that 25 per cent of restaurants had improved their seafood sustainability. It has always been Fish2fork’s aim to change the behaviour of restaurants so that they remove from their menus all species that are threatened, endangered or facing undue pressure. Unlike other schemes, Fish2fork gauges each restaurant’s behaviour rather than judge them on their aspirations. The fish and shellfish served are judged against the FishOnline guidance along with the restaurants’ purchasing policies and, crucially, the information they provide to diners about the ingredients. Engagement with chefs also emphasised that while many make poor selections in terms of sustainability, few of them realise. Once they become aware that better choices are available, many make changes to their menus even before their first reviews are posted. Fish2fork is hugely excited at working with the MCS and the first joint scheme should see many hundreds of fresh reviews added to the guide in a matter of months as the UK’s biggest restaurant chains are assessed for seafood sustainability. Longer term, who knows? A variety of joint initiatives are being planned in the hope of a lasting relationship between the MCS and Fish2fork, one that makes a big difference to the marine world. Go to www.fish2fork.com to find out more. Remember if you are looking to cook fish at home you can also visit MCS’s Fishonline, where you can find out which fish are the most sustainable.

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