How your seafood dishes could help ensure there's plenty of fish in the sea

Charity launches ‘Change for Fish’ scheme for restaurants to help raise awareness of seafood sustainability

The UK’s leading marine charity says it believes a scheme, in which restaurants and eateries donate cash from the sale of their seafood dishes, will help bring the issue of making sustainable fish choices to a wide audience of diners. ‘Change for Fish’ is the brainchild of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and restaurant rating organisation, Fish2fork.

It will see restaurants choose one or more seafood dishes that, when ordered, will suggest a discretionary donation to the charity which works to promote sustainable seafood to encourage environmental improvements in the way seafood is caught and farmed. “Many fish populations have declined dramatically in recent decades and are struggling to recover. With almost 90 per cent of world fish stocks fully or over exploited from fishing, plus pressure from climate change and pollution, stocks need a helping hand to ensure chefs can serve up fish suppers for generations to come,” says MCS Corporate Partnerships Manager, Sanjay Mitra.

MCS says the ‘Change for Fish’ scheme will make it clear to customers the efforts of restaurants to improving the sustainability of the seafood they’re serving. Before it becomes a ‘Change for Fish’ eatery, MCS and Fish2fork will work closely with the restaurant to help identify any red listed species (Fish to Avoid) on the menu and replace with better rated sources on the MCS Good Fish Guide - ensuring unsustainably caught or farmed fish are being kept out of the cooking pot. “In a recent assessment of eleven high street restaurant chains and pubs we found that it’s a lack of information about the sources of seafood that is one of the biggest barriers for diners trying to eat seafood sustainably.

We believe the ‘Change for Fish’ scheme will highlight the good dishes and encourage diners to choose those ahead of others where less information is available ’ says Sanjay Mitra.

Restaurants will benefit from the support of MCS and Fish2fork through their digital networks of social media supporters and e-news subscribers amounting to a database of almost 200 000 potential customers. “We’re keen to raise the profile of restaurants and pubs taking part in the scheme because that way customers who want to make sustainable choices will know the best places to eat fish says Sanjay Mitra.

Participating eateries will also be featured in the ‘Change for Fish’ section of the MCS website www.mcsuk.org/changeforfish will be listed on the charity’s Good Beach Guide website which has over 250 000 unique users per year and will be listed on the Good Fish Guide app which has been featured in the Guardian’s Top 10 of sustainable food apps. If you serve seafood and would like to find out how to get involved in the ‘Change for Fish’ scheme email fundraising@mcsuk.org for more details.

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