High street brands put fish stocks at risk

Restaurants and pub chains are failing to serve sustainable seafood and must do more to prevent overfishing, campaigners have warned.

More than a third of high street restaurant and pub chains rated by Fish2fork and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) failed to meet the two organisations' expectations on sustainability.

Eleven restaurant and pub chains were given a rating based on the origins of the seafood served, the information provided to customers, and their approach to sourcing.

Jamie’s Italian was the highest ranked outlet, closely followed by Brasserie Blanc, Loch Fyne, Las Iguanas, Strada and then TGI Fridays.

However, while some brands were praised for making huge strides towards ensuring that only responsibly sourced seafood is served on the high street, other high street names - Yates, Giraffe, Little Chef, Slug and Lettuce and Wasabi - failed to meet Fish2fork and MCS’s minimum expectations on sustainability.

A lack of information to consumers remains one of the obstacles to diners who wish to eat seafood sustainably in the knowledge it comes from well managed fisheries and fish farms, according to Fish2Fork and MCS.

Almost a third of commercial fish stocks are now overharvested, according to the United Nations, while 15% of the world’s annual catch is currently being caught illegally. This means efforts to use sustainable supplies of seafood are vital, the organisations said.

“It’s fantastic to see the work restaurants like Jamie’s Italian and several others are putting into seeking out sustainable seafood,” said Tim Glover, managing director of Fish2fork.

“It’s not easy to ensure seafood is responsibly sourced, but it’s vital for the health of our seas and worth every penny invested by restaurants.”

King prawns and other tropical prawns were identified as one of the most problematic types of seafood used by restaurants and pubs.

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