Point the fish finger

Marine conservation groups call for UK restaurant chains to put sustainable fish on the menu

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 22 December 2015

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

  

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Fish2fork and Sustainable Fish Cities have launched a campaign to secure public pledges from three of the UK’s largest restaurant chains to serve 100% demonstrably sustainable fish.

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A public commitment

Members of the public are being asked to ‘Point the Fish Finger’ at high street food outlets JD Wetherspoon, Café Rouge and Bella Italia.

Each of the restaurant and pub groups has been asked to take Sustain’s Sustainable Fish Cities pledge – a public commitment to serve only demonstrably sustainable fish. To measure progress, they will then be assessed by Fish2fork and given a sustainability rating.

To encourage the restaurant and pub chains, and to show them the level of concern about seafood sustainability, members of the public are urged to ‘Point the Fish Finger’ by going online to tell them unsustainable seafood must be kept off the menu.

‘Our supporters tell us that they want to see sustainable fish on the menu, but high street restaurant chains just aren’t doing enough to either buy sustainable seafood or to inform diners about the seafood they’re selling.’

Sam Stone, Marine Conservation Society

Shaking up policies

The three restaurant groups serve more than 185 million meals per year and represent around 12% of the high street restaurant market. It is estimated that 28,000 people eat fish and chips each week as part of JD Wetherspoons’ ‘Fish Friday’ alone.

A recent survey by Fish2fork and MCS found that several restaurant chains were failing to demonstrate publicly that they were serving sustainable seafood. They included Café Rouge and Bella Italia, two of the UK’s best known and most popular high street restaurants.

JD Wetherspoon also serves large quantities of seafood and it is vital that pub chains can demonstrate they use sustainable supplies.

‘These companies are more than overdue a shakeup of their fish policies. There are plenty of sustainable fish options available and in fact they may be doing some good things already, but without a clear commitment and strong, meaningful and publicly accessible fish policy, customers are left in the dark.’

Ruth Westcott, Sustainable Fish Cities

Impact on seas

The restaurants have been presented with a series of simple asks, based on the results of the recent survey by Fish2fork and the Marine Conservation Society plus other information gathered from company websites and in restaurants.

‘The choices restaurants make about which fish or shellfish to use have a direct impact on the health of our seas. That’s why it is so important restaurants and pubs take great care to make sure their selections do not come from overfished areas.’

Tim Glover, managing director of Fish2fork

Click here to join the campaign and point the fish finger at JD Wetherspoon, Café Rouge and Bella Italia.

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