Marine Conservation Society creates online platform to improve the sourcing of sustainable seafood in the UK

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland

A new digital tool, Good Fish Guide for Business, has been launched by the Marine Conservation Society to help businesses source their seafood more sustainably.

The app is an extension of the Good Fish Guide, which gives sustainability ratings to 128 different types of seafood and has already been in operation for 20 years.

It lets anyone who works in the seafood supply chain discover the most environmentally friendly fish and shellfish available.

The Good Fish Guide bases its ratings on how seafood has been farmed as well as where it was caught. For different types of wild seafood, the guide looks at impacts such as bycatch, habitat damage and overfishing. For farmed seafood, fish feed and the environmental impact is analysed. The ratings follow a traffic-light system with green representing the ‘Best Choice’, and red indicating a ‘Fish to Avoid’.

The eco-chef, food writer and sustainability consultant Tom Hunt who has sourced fish using the Good Fish Guide for the past decade said: “implementing a comprehensive sustainable sourcing policy brings kudos and authenticity to your business. Communicating it allows your business to practice transparency, building trust… 

“It’s much easier to make environmental decisions as a business than as an individual. As a business you have resources and a team of professionals to help create rules and implement them… the Good Fish Guide gives your business the tool kit.”  

The new platform allows businesses to create a ‘Sustainability Profile’ and save their seafood in the form of a ‘Seafood Source List’ and a chart to show the degree of environmental responsibility in their sourcing, rated from Green to Red. Businesses can also download this information from the app to help them monitor their sustainable sourcing progress and develop their responsible sourcing with suppliers.

The Marine Conservation Society already helps several big businesses improve the responsible sourcing of their seafood including Morrisons, Selfridges and Abel & Cole.

A recent survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the charity revealed that 43% of people named sustainability as a key factor to consider when purchasing fish and shellfish. The survey also showed that nearly 90% also wanted to see better information available from businesses on the products, which would help them be sure they were buying sustainable seafood.

39% of people have also noted that they prioritise ‘familiarity’ when they buy seafood, according to the Marine Conservation Society.

The charity also notes that 80% of the seafood currently consumed in the UK being made up of five species:  tuna, cod, haddock, prawns and salmon. Consequently, through the Good Fish Guide for Businesses, they are trying to encourage big and small businesses to introduce consumers to more varied and local types of seafood, to try and make their sourcing more sustainable.

As more people try and purchase more sustainably sourced foods such as seafood, more companies are also looking to create better eco-friendly forms of fish through plant-based alternatives. Fish-free products currently on the market include Quorn’s breaded fishless fillets and scampi as well as Sainsbury’s Plant Pioneers tinned vegan tuna.

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