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” by the Marine Conservation Society, 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.”
Redbridge Nature Conservation Team
Editor: You will be pleased to note that Fish Friday at the Fairlop Oak is on the menu. JD Wetherspoon has recently published (after being prompted by this campaign) a sustainable fish buying policy on their website, explaining how they are meeting many of the standards suggested. Consumer power at work.