Next time you’re choosing a chippie, look for the MSC’s ‘blue tick’ ecolabel that appears on sustainable menus to give diners an independent assurance that their fish was sourced sustainably, and is traceable from ocean to plate.
Globally, 1 billion people rely on fish for their main source of protein and around 10% of the world’s population rely on it for their livelihood, so it’s vital to ensure that the life in our oceans is safeguarded for the future. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) was set up 15 years ago to do just that, and is now the world’s leading ecolabel for sustainable wild-caught seafood. It certifies 45% of the UK’s wild-caught fish as sustainable.
World’s most sustainable fish and chip shop
Earlier this year, Plymouth’s Kingfisher Fish and Chips became the world’s most sustainable fish and chip shop, when it put 12 different species of MSC certified fish and seafood on its menu, more than any other fish and chip shop or restaurant in the world. The impressive array of sustainable choices includes cod and haddock from the Arctic Sea, Jersey lobster, prawns, pollock, salmon and even kippers.
Kingfisher’s owner, Craig Maw, says sustainable sourcing is central to the chippy’s focus on quality. “The ecolabel is in the forefront for sustainable fish certification and consumer confidence. This is why we openly endorse MSC certification and the ecolabel. Moving forward, I hope to encourage other businesses to become certified, ensuring future generations have the same choices as today,” says Maw.
Newest sustainable chippie on the list
The latest fish and chip shop to become MSC-certified is Cromars in St Andrews, Scotland. This traditional seaside chippy has also been shortlisted for the Independent Takeaway category at the 2016 National Fish & Chip Awards, which will take place in January.
Colin Cromar, the takeaway’s owner, says: “All of our food is locally sourced and we’re proud to say that we only use homemade, fresh products so we know exactly what we’re selling to our customers. We recently became the 50th shop in the UK to gain accreditation from the Marine Stewardship Council. Add this to now becoming one of the ten best fish and chip takeaways in the UK, and I’d say we’re looking to end the year with a bang.”
Seven of the 10 finalists in the 2015 National Fish & Chip Awards were MSC certified, including Frankie’s Fish and Chips in the village of Brae, in the Shetlands, which was named the best independent takeaway and also scooped the ‘Good Catch – Sustainable Seafood Award’. It sells MSC certified haddock, crab, king scallops and mussels, and it also runs an educational programme to teach local primary school children about the importance of sustainable fishing. “The provenance of our seafood is of great importance to us,” says John Gould, Manager of Frankie’s. “You can buy a fish supper at Frankie’s without worrying that it causes harm to the haddock stock in the seas off Shetland or the environment.”
Other recently certified fish and chip shops include two branches of Scotts Fish & Chips, in York and Helmsley, and four branches of Rockfish, the takeaway restaurant chain that is owned by chef and restaurateur Mitch Tonks, in Dartmouth, Brixham, Plymouth and Torquay.
For more about the MSC and sustainable seafood visit www.msc.org