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A growing force

Momentum is growing for sustainability, says Kingfisher’s Craig Maw

I have held off writing this article, as I guessed it was probably expected. But one thing which has dominated our business over the last month is this very subject, sustainability.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) recently awarded me the MSC Chef of the Year award, which is a fantastic accolade following in the footsteps of the likes of Raymond Blanc. Kingfisher has also been shortlisted as finalists by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) for Sustainability and Sourcing for the Food Made Good Awards.

We are also delighted to announce that our mobile van ‘Kingfisher on the Go’ now holds the NFFF Quality Award and is MSC certified to the same level as our shop. This means we can serve all our record breaking sustainable seafood species on our mobile fish and chip van and use the logo.

We have also recently been involved in articles for the SRA's ‘Use, Reuse and Recycle’ campaign and are due to carry out an Instagram takeover on the its Instagram account on this very subject.

There is also the fantastic news of the North sea cod stocks recovering to such a point that the North Sea fishery has also been MSC certified sustainable. This is thanks to the enormous efforts of a coalition of fishing organisations with support from supermarkets, seafood brands and industry body Seafish.

This is a huge step forward and its importance was clearly evident at the recent British Fish Craft Championships at Billingsgate Market, London, where MSC certified sustainable North Sea cod was used for the very first time.

I believe that in our industry sourcing sustainable seafood should be paramount for the future of the oceans, our industry and fish and chips.

How you choose to do this is entirely up to you, but one way is to become MSC certified as this enables you to use the MSC logo. This logo is becoming more identifiable and recognised by consumers as evidence that the seafood you purchase and serve is from sustainable sources and you are helping protect stocks long into the future.

You can, of course, source sustainably and responsibly without being MSC certified, but you can’t use the MSC logo. So it becomes more difficult to get the message across to our customers.

Just recently we were privileged to have been taken on a tour of Billingsgate Fish Market, which was fantastic. There are so many species under one roof, it is truly astonishing. Some were sustainable and some weren’t, but change is happening. Even Billingsgate Fish Market, which is steeped in history and at times might resist it, has to embrace sustainability to keep up with the growing need of its customers.

More restaurants are demanding sustainable seafood and are forcing suppliers to change their ways too. This is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog, and it’s working. Now there are a minimum of three suppliers in the market who are MSC certified and this number is growing. Their industries just like ours know they have to change to keep up with the current demands from our customers.

My advice is to embrace change; it will keep us fresh and current. It’s all part of the evolution of fish and chips. If you would like information on becoming MSC certified or any of the topics I have covered please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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