Out of 208 catering and hospitality businesses publicly supporting a nationwide Sustainable Fish Cities campaign, aimed at encouraging the use and sale of sustainable fish rather than over-fished species, only four of those were pub operators.
Ruth Westcott, Sustainable Fish Cities co-ordinator, said: “The good thing about pubs is they’ve got a nice opportunity to introduce people to sustainable fish – people trust their local pubs in a very special way.
“There’s a real gap – there are a few [supporting pubs], but I don’t know why more haven’t come forward to get involved.”
Westcott said although more pubs probably were serving sustainable fish, if larger operators and groups were to publicly support the campaign it could have a considerably greater effect on the issue.
The Marine Conservation Society has provided an online guide to which fish are sustainable and which should be avoided.
Top fish to avoid include types of sea bass, tuna, salmon, Atlantic cod and types of haddock, with pollock, types of bream, dab, hake and gurnard touted as possible alternatives.
South coast sustainability
Bournemouth and Poole has been named as the world’s first Sustainable Fish City.
The city, in Dorset, was granted the title as part of the Sustainable Fish Cities scheme due to the fact that the majority of fish meals served in Bournemouth and Poole contained only sustainable produce.
Sarah Watson, sustainable food city manager for Bournemouth and Poole, said: “We are delighted that Bournemouth and Poole has been crowned the world’s first Sustainable Fish City.
“It has been hard work but we have been overwhelmed by the support the campaign has received from local businesses and caterers that want to make a positive difference to the future of our oceans.”
Among initiatives from the city’s operators in selling sustainable seafood are: the Clock Café’s ‘pick your own fish’ nights and locally-caught wet fish counter, Highcliff Grill’s ‘taste of Dorset’ menu and the Little Pickle Deli’s ‘ultimate fish finger sarnie’.
Sustainable Fish Cities campaigns are also being run in Belfast, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Durham, Hull, Lancashire, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Plymouth and Stockport, with Cardiff, Brighton, Plymouth and the London borough of Lambeth acknowledged to be leading in terms of sustainability.