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New online tool helps chip shops source sustainable seafood

The Marine Conservation Society has launched a free tool to help fish and chip shops source seafood sustainably.

The Good Fish Guide for Business, an extension to the charity’s Good Fish Guide, which has been running for twenty years, is an online portal detailing how environmentally responsible fish or shellfish are.

Seafood is rated based on where and how it is caught or farmed using a simple traffic light system. Green is ‘Best Choice’ and red is ‘Fish to Avoid’. Ratings are based on impacts such as bycatch, habitat damage and overfishing for wild seafood, and fish feed and environmental impacts for farmed seafood.

The Guide also suggests similar species that have better environmental credentials.

Shops can log in and save their seafood, generating a chart outlining how environmentally responsible their sourcing is. This information can be downloaded for an easy-to-use snapshot of where businesses are in their journey to responsible sourcing, and help them to work on improvements with their suppliers.

Jack Clarke, sustainable seafood advocate at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “We’re really pleased to be launching this tool which will support businesses, chefs and those working in the food industry to source ocean-friendly seafood. After more than a year of exploring consumer attitudes and values, it’s clear that ‘sustainability sells’, but all too often shoppers and diners don’t have the information they need to make informed decisions.

“Good Fish Guide for Business is a way of making it easier for businesses to support their customers and provide sustainably-sourced seafood, rigorously assessed by the experts at the Good Fish Guide.”

The charity hopes that businesses will drive the demand for sustainable seafood. This will help to relieve pressure on those species that are red rated, such as eel and wild Atlantic halibut which, despite being as endangered as the Bengal tiger, are still finding their way onto menus.

A recent survey carried out by YouGov found that 43% of people believe sustainability is an important consideration when buying seafood. 87% of those surveyed want better information so they can be confident that they are not buying unsustainable fish or seafood.

The Marine Conservation Society has launched a webinar, viewable here, outlining how the tool works. It also delved into the charity's insights and learnings from a year of research and consumer testing, covering consumer attitudes to seafood sustainability, barriers and trends.

The Good Fish Guide, and Good Fish Guide for Business can be found via the Marine Conservation Society’s website.

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