Good Catch…the essentials
FREE publication - Core information to improve seafood sustainability
This page features an overview of recent news and activity - keeping you up-to-date with what's happening in sustainable seafood and the culinary sector.
On the 23rd of May, at an event sponsored by BaxterStorey, Raymond Blanc was rewarded for his outstanding contribution to sustainability and the environment by being awarded the ‘Special Achievement’ Award at the “Footprint Awards 2012”.
Nominated for his passion and deep down conviction to sustainability, a topic which he talked about long before it became ‘trendy’, Blanc champions an ethical approach to cooking and is devoted to energy efficiency and recycling. The chef’s nomination in this Special Achievement Award comes as a result of the public pressure he has put on the foodservice industry by being outspoken about the responsibility across the whole foodservice industry to be experts and teachers in sustainability issues.
This award is a particularly great acknowledgment of Raymond's work championing seafood sustainability. Including hosting an event with the Sustainable Fish City campaign at Fishmongers' Hall, London, in January. The event was attended by Michelin-starred chefs, independent restaurant owners, some of the UK’s largest restaurant and pub chains, policymakers, fish sustainability experts and fishermen; Raymond advocated that London’s caterers and chefs must use their buying power to make the capital the world’s first-ever Sustainable Fish City.
The Good Catch groups would like to congratulate Raymond on this most recent award, and look forward to further fishy-ventures.
Check out Raymond's short speech here: http://www.raymondblanc.com/NEWS/RB-Special-Achievement-Award-at-Footprint-Awards.aspx
Following a titanic response from seafood chefs across the country, the finalists for the MSC recipe of the year competition have been announced. Chosen from an extremely high quality field, the four finalists take in a diverse range of cultures and cooking styles from banana steamed pollock to a haddock pie cooked and served in its own frying pan.
Chefs from MSC certified restaurants across the country were challenged to create an innovative and inspirational dish that could be cooked up in less than an hour by any fish-friendly home chef. The finalists will compete in a ‘cook off’ at the MSC headquarters on January 19th with the winner announced on the day. Prizes include a trip for two to the Shetland Islands shellfish fishery – currently going through MSC assessment.
A competition to find the UK’s most forward thinking restaurant or caterer for sustainable fish was launched today. The City of London Corporation has teamed up with Raymond Blanc, Sustainable Fish City, the Fishmongers' Company and SeaWeb's Seafood Choices as part of the prestigious Sustainable City Awards.
Announcing the competition Raymond said, “Good ethics should be part of everyday business. The focus of this year’s prestigious award is on sustainable fish. This is a chance for the restaurants and caterers of this country to shout about what they are doing to protect our precious marine resources, get rightful recognition and inspire others. We will be looking for entrants that set clear guidelines on what they will and will not serve and demonstrate passion for this subject.”
Register for entry now by contacting Sustainable Fish City at email@example.com or on 020 7837 1228 and asking for Jon Walker.
On August 15th, the Marnie Stewardship Council launched a competition to find the best certified sustainable seafood recipe in the UK. Thousands of chefs in certified restaurants across the UK serve sustainable seafood on a daily basis. Now, the gauntlet has been thrown down to show the world just how good they are.
Hannah Arcaro, UK Foodservice Manager for the MSC says: “With over 120 fisheries across the world now certified, we know that there’s a wealth of delicious MSC recipes being cooked up in kitchens across the country and we want to know about them! We’re looking for an exciting and inspirational dish that tastes delicious. The winning recipe will be one that can be re-created by an experienced home cook in under an hour and use ingredients that are readily available to UK shoppers. That will mean the recipe can help to promote sustainably sourced seafood when dining out and at home."
The judges – to be announced nearer the final – will choose a shortlist of three entries to compete in a ‘cook-off’ and tasting at the MSC’s UK Commercial meeting in November 2011 with the winner announced on the day. Prizes include a trip for two to the Shetland Islands shellfish fishery - currently going through MSC assessment.
To enter you must work at an MSC certified restaurant in the UK. Once you have come up with your recipe, fill out theand submit, with a photo of your entry, to firstname.lastname@example.org by 14th October 2011.
In a landmark move for sustainability, McDonald’s has today announced that over 13 million customers every day across Europe will be able to buy Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable fish in McDonald’s restaurants from October this year.
The news comes as 7,000 McDonald’s restaurants across 39 European countries achieve certification to the MSC Chain of Custody traceability standard, as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to enhance its sustainable sourcing practices.
Over 50% of the world’s marine fish stocks are fully exploited*. The MSC is an independent global organisation set up to tackle the problem of overfishing by recognising and rewarding sustainable fisheries through its certification and eco-labelling programme. McDonald’s will be the first company in its sector to introduce MSC certified white fish throughout Europe. Last year, the company sold approximately 100 million Filet-o-Fish portions across Europe.
Over 188,000 students in London are now to be served sustainable fish, after fourteen leading universities signed up to the Sustainable Fish City pledge, promising to exclude endangered fish and to serve and promote sustainable fish. Sustainable Fish City is an ambitious campaign to turn London into the world’s first city where businesses, institutions and citizens all promote sustainable fish and seafood consumption.
“It is inspiring to hear that so many of London’s universities are helping to secure a sustainable fish future,” said Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at the Centre for Food Policy, City University London. City University London was one of the early champions of Sustainable Fish City in its own food buying. Tim Lang continued: “Educational institutions recognise their role in helping the younger gener ation to tackle the serious challenges that now face human beings living on a planet with finite resources. What better way to demonstrate to our policy-makers of the future that sustainable fish is delicious, achievable and affordable than to serve it in university canteens, and promote this to staff and students.”
“There are nearly 50 universities, colleges and major educational institutions in London,” said Jon Walker, coordinator of the Sustainable Fish City campaign, which is backed by leading marine conservation organisations. “It would be fantastic if all of them pledged to serve sustainable fish. So we would like all food buyers in educational institutions to join us, through their fish buying policies, in supporting precious marine environments and good livelihoods in sustainable fishing.”
This announcement is made on World Oceans Day, the annual celebration of the oceans and their vital importance for people and the planet.
Marks & Spencer have recently launched their new campaign ‘Fish Forever’ an initiative to help preserve ‘our precious sealife, oceans and beaches’. The initiative includes MSC certification and partnership with the NGO’s Marine Conservation Society (Part of the Good Catch initiative) and WWF to advise on sustainable seafood, help to clean up UK seas and beaches and advise on policies in order to cut down on waste that may enter the seas.
M&S are MSC certified and source 84% of there fish from certified fisheries. Demonstrating this through such a public initiative shows that there is real commercial as well as ethical value to sourcing sustainable seafood and certified sustainable seafood.
This is especially important at a time when 80% of the world fish stocks are either at full capacity or overfished and only 1% of the marine environment is protected from damaging activities such as unsustainable fishing practises. Essentially this means that only 20% of fisheries have any room to expand to meet the seafood needs of a growing population. Without sustainable management and protection these fisheries could also be at risk of becoming overfished. Hence the time is now to seriously commit to sustainable seafood sourcing.
As part of the initiative M&S have also decided to stock more underutilised or less well known species such as Dab, Coley and Flounder on their shelves in order to take some of the pressure off the ‘Big five’ – the 5 commercial fish species responsible for the majority of the seafood consumed in the UK; Cod, Haddock, Prawns, Tuna and Salmon. This is setting an excellent example for anyone in the seafood industry and should serve up some inspiration to restaurants and caterers looking to improve the sustainability of the fish they serve.
The Marine Conservation Society has just launched a new and simplified seafood sustainability guide with advice and recipe ideas to make buying sustainable and varied seafood much simpler, and some top buying tips and questions to ask your fish supplier. The guide also includes the Find a Fish tool which helps you work out how sustainable the fish you’re serving is, and which alternatives you could try.
Each year the government spends £1 billion on food for the public sector - including in schools (£320m per year), hospitals (£300m per year), care homes and the armed forces (£195m per year).
The Government is proposing to introduce compulsory sustainability standards for seafood bought by 'central government' (approximately one-third of all public sector institutions) but Sustain's Good Food for Our Money Campaign has shown these proposals are weaker than the standards in pet food served to Larry, the No.10 cat!
Sustain's Good Food for Our Money Campaign is demanding that the Government changes its plans so that 100% of seafood bought by central government meets strong sustainability standards, like those already adopted by the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and responsible UK businesses.
There's only days left until Food Minister Jim Paice makes a decision on government fish buying standards....
Find out how you can help make the government buy sustainable seafood
Sustainable seafood was the flavour of the day at the Billingsgate Seafood Training school on when over 40 chefs, caterers and restaurateurs attended a sell-out event in March organised by Good Catch and Ethical Eats. The event, hosted by Billingsgate Seafood Training School, comprised of presentations about the sustainability problems in our seas, a guide to the practical steps to take to improve seafood sustainability in businesses like restaurants, pubs and cost-sector catering, plus a big focus on alternative species. The event was perfectly timed to build on the huge interest in fish, following Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Fish Fight on Channel 4. With more and more chefs wanting to know how they can do their bit, there was a real hunger for information, as Richard Bell from the Three Stags in South London commented:
“I found the event extremely helpful. It was particularly well timed straight after Hugh’s Fish Fight TV campaign; it’s taken a celebrity chef from our catering industry to expose the devastation of the seabed and the shameful waste of fish stocks that’s been going on for years. I, for one, am most proud to be a part of the solution.
It’s essential that we, the catering trade, are all as well informed as possible about sustainability issues. These events are a great reminder to us all of where our food comes from, which we must never forget – they can help drive our individual passions for the issues, and pass them on to our customers.”
The training day started with an early morning tour of Billingsgate where chefs got the chance to meet seafood traders and see the incredible range of fish and shellfish on offer at the market. Attendees were also put the test with a blind tasting, and challenged to ‘name that species’ – not as easy as it sounds! Beautifully prepared by the staff at the Seafood Training School, some lesser-loved fish species such as dab and gurnard proved popular with the chefs, who said they’d be interested in trying them out on their menus as tasty and often cost-effective alternatives to the usual suspects, such as cod, haddock and salmon.
A new campaign that’s championing good fish choices also excited attendees. Inspired by the seafood sustainability commitment of the 2012 Olympics, London is striving to become the first ever ‘Sustainable Fish City’. The public are lending their voices of support to the initiative and businesses are getting involved by pledging to specify sustainable fish in their catering contracts and menus and to promote sustainable fish to their customers. The Sustainable Fish City aim is for London's boroughs and large food businesses, including fish suppliers, to serve sustainable fish by 2012. Sustainable Fish City supporters are being encouraged to improve their seafood sourcing through the principle ‘avoid the worst, promote the best and improve the rest’. During the workshop five businesses pledged their support for the Sustainable Fish City campaign, joining the strong list of existing supporters (includes D&D London restaurant group, Leon, Wahaca, Feng Sushi).
With the chance to meet suppliers and put questions to experts from Good Catch, the Marine Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Fish City campaign, the event gave chefs and restaurateurs a solid grounding in sustainable fish, to help them make better choices as to which fish to put on their menus. The morning was rounded off with a delicious kedgeree brunch using sustainable smoked coley.
The Top Ten fish swaps for restaurants can be downloaded at http://www.sustainweb.org/pdf/11/top_ten_fishswaps_restaurants.pdf and photos from the day at Billingsgate can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28183553@N05/sets/72157626062155571/
It's not all about the glitz of Hollywood and the Oscars, the awards season is well underway in the food world too. January saw The Chip Box get the ball rolling by winning The Good Catch Award at The National Fish and Chip Awards and last week Peter Weeden, Head Chef at Paternoster Chop House in London did the UK proud by being named a finalist in the international Seafood Champion awards.
Awards, and the press coverage that accompany them, are a great way to get recognition for your business and sustainability progress. As well as being a good morale boost for you and your team, they can be good for business, helping you stand out from the crowd. Richard Ord (Colman's of South Shield) won last year's Good Catch Award and sees competitions as positive for turnover saying "I have seen my sales increase as a direct result of winning The Good Catch Award and being a [national fish and chip award] regional finalist)".
There's lots of different kinds of awards out there so there's bound to be one that is a good fit for your business. Great opportunities on the horizon include:
- The UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year competition which gets underway in March as students across four regions battle it out in front of judges like Mitch Tonks and Tom Aikens.
- The Footprint Awards recognise contribution to sustainability and environmental excellence in the foodservice industry and the deadline is just over a month away (14th March) so there's still time to enter. Why not talk to your customers about it and encourage them to vote for you in the 'Community Vote Award'?
- The Considerate Hoteliers Awards is a good opportunity for those that provide accommodation as well as food. The deadline for entries is end of March so there's time to put in strong applications for an award category like the Sustainable Food Award or Green Champion.
Good luck with your entries - and do share any good news with us if you win!
More details on these and other awards are listed in our Events section
This year's National Fish and Chip Awards were presented amid a flurry of seafood interest, as celebrity chefs on the Fish Fight TV shows were trying to guide taste buds toward less-known sustainable fish options rather than the standard favourites of cod, haddock, salmon, tuna and prawns. Chefs from the Fish Fight team were at the awards promoting their 'mackerel mission' - encouraging chippies across the land to show some love to a great British fish by serving 'mackerel baps'.
With about 10,500 shops across the United Kingdom, fish and chips are a key part of the nation’s fish culture and important businesses when it comes to sustainable sourcing and winning over the public to sustainable fish options. The Good Catch Award - one of the fish and chip awards presented in London last week - recognises those fish and chip shops that are improving the environmentally responsible practices of their business and the seafood that they serve. This year the Good Catch Award judges had tough decisions to make as the quality of the applications was especially high, all showing dedication to advancing sustainability.
This year’s Good Catch Award-winning restaurant is The Chip Box, in Stewarton, Scotland whom judges felt had really done their homework to source sustainably and impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of the whole Chip Box Team and their promotions to encourage diners to try often-overlooked fish choices. Judges also applauded this year’s other finalists, Alfie Grimshaw, of Kenilworth, and Harbour Lights of Falmouth in Cornwall as real ambassadors doing a fantastic job of encouraging other fish and chip shops and suppliers to join them on the sustainability journey.
Ronnie McCulloch, of The Chip Box, said, “It’s fantastic to see the nation as a whole getting behind sustainable seafood and more people demanding the fish they eat comes from a MSC-certified fishery. If we don't act together now, future generations will not be able to enjoy the fish we currently take for granted.”
It's set to be a very fishy-focused week as Jamie, Hugh, Gordon, Heston and co' take to our screens in 'Fish Fight' to highlight a variety of fishing and seafood topics. The programmes started screening on Tuesday 11th January. As well as addressing big issues like discarding and shark-finning, a key theme of the shows is encouraging consumers to vary the different fish they eat - as we say in the Good Catch Top Tips: 'Mix Up The Menu'
Species that Jamie will be cooking include: Trout, Coley, Mackerel, Mussels, Dab, Crab, Squid, Pouting, Herring and Sardines.
Talk to your supplier now to find out about sourcing these, and other under-loved fish, for your menu. If people have seen them featured on TV they're bound to want to try them for themselves - a great opportunity to serve something different to the regular five favourites the British public normally stick to (Cod, Haddock, Tuna, Salmon & Prawns).
Plus several of these options are available from fisheries that are certified-sustainable by the MSC. Look out for the blue ecolabel in your suppliers product list - a handy guarantee to assure you of a fisheries sustainability.
Inspired by the seafood sustainability commitment of the 2012 Olympics, London is aiming to become the first ever ‘Sustainable Fish City’. The public are lending their voices of support to the initiative and businesses are promising to help London become a Sustainable Fish City by pledging to specify sustainable fish in their catering contracts/menus and to promote sustainable fish to their customers.
Organisations already on-board include the D&D restaurant group; Moshi Moshi; Wahaca; the Duke of Cambridge gastropub; contract caterers Sodexo; several leading universities and The National Trust. To improve their seafood sourcing the businesses involved will follow the simple principle of Avoid the worst, promote the best and improve the rest - the same message communicated by Good Catch.
The Sustainable Fish City aim is for London's boroughs and large food businesses, including fish suppliers, to serve sustainable fish by 2012.
(London only right now – but coming to other areas soon!)