Fish2Fork flunks family restaurants on seafood sustainability

Published on
November 19, 2015

A recent survey from Fish2Fork claims that more than half of the largest restaurant chains in the United Kingdom are either sourcing their seafood from overfished waters or are lacking transparency when it comes to revealing the origins of their fish and shellfish.

Some of the lowest sustainability ratings were handed to family establishments like Ask, Harvester, Wagamama, Cafe Rouge, Chiquito and Frankie & Benny’s, which all were in the red. The lowest overall score went to Bella Italia. According to The Guardian, the chains together operate more than 1,800 branches, producing seafood by thousands of metric tons annually.

A spokesperson for the Casual Dining Group, which runs both Café Rouge and Bella Italia, assured that the chains do their best to provide sustainable seafood options: “All our fish at Bella Italia and Café Rouge comes from sustainable sources and none are species designated as endangered. This is an important issue that we take very seriously. We take great care in choosing suppliers, who share our values and are as committed to this issue as we are. We will be engaging directly with the MCS to ensure they are aware of our current position, which isn’t reflected in these results,” said the spokesperson to The Guardian.

Most of the low scoring restaurants were selling sea bass, whitebait, cod and king prawns – listed by the Marine Conservation Society, which partners with Fish2Fork on the restaurant sustainability guide, as fisheries to steer clear of.

Top sustainability scorers according to Fish2Fork and MCS include Yo! Sushi and Pret A Manger. The chains were given a score of 4 and 4.5 blue fish respectively – the highest score handed out by the restaurant guide rating system, 5 blue fish, has yet to be obtained.

“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,” said Sam Fanshawe, Marine Conservation Society chief executive, to The Guardian.

“We believe the sector as a whole should be putting much more effort into sourcing practices and the information given to customers. Diners want to eat with a clear conscience, to know that their menu choices are not further damaging our hard-pressed seas,” added Tim Glover, co-founder and managing director of Fish2fork.

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