Our concern for the impact we are having on our environment is being considered in this blog through the lens of the supply of fish stocks. It has been discussed for many years that the way in which we fish, and the volume consumed is not sustainable for future generations. We have therefore looked at what is being done now to preserve our fish stocks.

The not-for-profit organisation, The Marine Conservation Society is the U.K.’s leading marine environment charity. It works to increase the protection of the seas around the UK with the creation of well-managed marine protected areas. This includes trying to keep the seas surrounding the UK ‘pollution-free’ from our rubbish and the plastic tide that is coming in from big fast food restaurant chains, pubs and restaurants and protect the oceans from overfishing.

Plastic pollution is one of the top priorities of the Marine Conservation Society and catering establishments can help enormously by reducing their impact on our oceans by buying food that is not packaged in plastic and removing plastic and polystyrene packaging when serving food. See War on Plastic for more information on how catering industries can reduce their dependency on plastic packaging.

What is sustainable fishing?

In order to prevent the disappearance of fish species in our oceans, it’s important to maintain fish stocks at a level that allows breeding to occur and ensures fish populations remain at a sustainable level. It seems quite obvious but if our oceans are clean, the fish will have a better chance of surviving. As well as reducing rubbish and using recyclable packaging The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) educates people all over the world on how to work together to keep our oceans healthy and full of life, which they achieve through the certification of Fishers who provide sustainable seafood. The more catering establishments that choose only MSC certified seafood, the longer the world’s fish stocks will be preserved.

How catering establishments can keep seafood sustainable

The catering industry can play another big part in maintaining the supply of fish for future generations by choosing the MSC bluefish label on fish supplies they purchase. MSC certified labelling ensures the fish they use can be traced back to a sustainable source. By choosing seafood with the blue MSC label, catering establishments are helping to protect the world’s oceans and the livelihoods of Fisheries and ultimately the fish stocks.

The MSC work globally to raise awareness and monitor the use of sustainable seafood stocks. This allows Chefs to source the world’s finest sustainable seafoods for their business, for example; helping Fish and Chip bars across the UK to keep up with the demands of its customers whilst using the MSC certified fish.  It also helps industries such as the North Sea Cod Fishers, who work in some of the most extreme environments, to provide white fish to seafood markets and food outlets without over fishing.

Making sure Fishermen become MSC certified creates change from the bottom up because the certification will make a huge difference giving Consumers the confidence that Fishers are fishing sustainably.

The Catering Industry has a key role to play after the Fishers are certified. Chefs in restaurants and all sorts of cafeterias and food establishments can use and share sustainable fish recipes. By using seafood carrying the blue MSC label they are supporting MSC certified Fisher’s livelihoods and this can only be a good thing.

Recipes using sustainable seafood

There are many recipes using sustainable seafood, available online for instance… seafood pizza, Pollock fish parcels, fish tacos, tuna melt, salmon with rhubarb and dill mayonnaise, Goan fish curry, Haddock à la King, beer battered fish and chips, grilled herring with Indonesian scrambled eggs, baked cod with almonds - to name a few! Being creative and using less popular species of fish such as Hoke, and Pollock, also takes pressure away from the traditional varieties.

To summarise, Fisheries that meet the MSC standards are independently certified as sustainable. This means that retailers and restaurants who choose MSC certified sustainable seafood, sold with the blue MSC label, can be assured their seafood has a traceable supply chain. The more consumers choose seafood with the blue MSC label, the higher the market demand for MSC certified seafood. This in turn encourages more Fisheries to improve their practices and volunteer to be assessed to the MSC standard. It is the old saying of ‘supply and demand’ and in this case it is also helping the world’s fish stocks to be maintained for future generations.

To find out more ways to use sustainable seafood, speak to our catering consultants at Ramsay Todd