AS THE UK's largest wholesaler of fresh fish and seafood to the foodservice industry, M&J Seafood has recognised its responsibility to promote the use of sustainable and under-utilised fish species throughout the foodservice sector.
In May, the Brakes-owned company announced that it would no longer supply Bluefin tuna, following on from a move to ban all shark products from its portfolio.
Mike Berthet, group director for fish and seafood, said: "This is something we expect other suppliers and retailers to follow. We had already banned Mediterranean Bluefin tuna, but it was important that all Bluefin tuna is removed from our extensive seafood list.
"We're looking at saying goodbye to Bluefin tuna as a living species unless action is taken to protect the planet's remaining stock."
M&J has a wide selection of products that have been ethically sourced, including more than 40 certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
As well as using sustainable forms of popular fish varieties, M&J advocates the use of alternative species in their place. Gurnard and native lobster are two such species.
Gurnard is an under-utilised British fish that all too often ends up as 'jetsam' and thrown overboard as waste, or pot bait. Found off the coast of Devon, Cornwall and Scotland, gurnard has a good flavour and firm texture that pan-fries well, and is best from the beginning of August.
Native lobster, while non-seasonal, is best in July and August when warmer water increases metabolism and moves them closer to shore, where the majority of stock is then easily caught off the East coasts of England and Scotland, as well as Devon and Dorset. The lobsters are pot-caught, a traditional method which causes minimal damage to other species and to the habitat.
Another initiative, dubbed 'Scottish Skippers' is currently being trialled at the Fishes, a Peach Pub Company site in Oxfordshire. The scheme guarantees full traceability, unparalleled provenance,
sustainable fishing practices as well as a fair price for the fishermen. Through M&J, the pub's chef Corin Earland is in contact with the skippers of designated vessels, so that upon their return from each trip Corin knows what has been caught, can request what he needs and be preparing special recipes based on that catch.
The fact that chefs can now choose from what has been caught, rather than fishermen fishing to fill quotas, means a more sustainable operation is carried out. In addition, consumers are guaranteed the freshest, most traceable fish possible.