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High street eateries and pubs falling short on seafood sustainability

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High street restaurants and pubs need to do more to prevent seafood being overfished, analysis by Fish2fork and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) shows.

Of 11 restaurant and pub chains assessed, Yates, Giraffe, Little Chef, Slug and Lettuce and Wasabi failed to meet Fish2fork and MCS’ minimum expectations on sustainability. Jamie’s Italian was the highest ranked outlet, closely followed by Brasserie Blanc, Loch Fyne, Las Iguanas, Strada and then TGI Fridays.

Fish2fork and MCS looked at the origins of the seafood served, the information provided to customers, and the approach to sourcing by 11 restaurant and pub chains to provide a rating for each outlet. More than a third of high street restaurant and pub chains rated by Fish2fork and MCS in the last two years have failed to meet the two organisations’ minimum expectations on sustainability. Almost a third of commercial fish stocks are now overharvested, according to the United Nations, and with 15% of the world’s annual catch being caught illegally, efforts to use sustainable supplies of seafood are vital.

However, some popular restaurant and pub chains are making huge strides towards ensuring that only responsibly sourced seafood is served on the high street.

“It’s fantastic to see the work restaurants like Jamie’s Italian and several others are putting into seeking out sustainable seafood,” said Tim Glover, managing director of Fish2fork. “It’s not easy to ensure seafood is responsibly sourced, but it’s vital for the health of our seas and worth every penny invested by restaurants.”

He added: “I’d like to offer my congratulations to Jamie’s Italian, Loch Fyne, Brasserie Blanc, Las Iguanas, Strada, TGI Friday for achieving a blue fish rating in this phase of our project to assess high street chains. They are setting an example that we think others could and should follow.”

Samuel Stone, Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture at MCS said “We shouldn’t have to leave our values and ethics behind when we eat out, and these blue fish rated restaurants are showing us that we don’t need to when we order the seafood from their menus.”

King prawns and other tropical prawns were, once again, identified as one of the most problematic types of seafood used by restaurants and pubs. Fish2fork and MCS encourage restaurants to use certified supplies but too often they either fail to do so or fail to make it clear to customers what their source is.

A lack of information to consumers remains one of the obstacles to diners who wish to eat seafood sustainably. Lack of transparency and information makes it impossible for the public to be sure the seafood being served is from well managed fisheries and fish farms.

Of 32 of the nation’s most popular restaurant and pub chains rated since 2015, 13 have been given red fish ratings while 19 received blue fish ratings. Fish2fork ratings are on a scale of 5 red fish, the worst, to 5 blue fish, the best. With 5 red fish at the bottom of the scale, ratings improve, half a fish at a time, to rise to 4.5 red fish, 4 red fish and so on until 0.5 red fish. From here, ratings rise from 0.5 blue fish to 5 blue fish.

June 2017 ratings: 

Blue fish (best)

  • Jamie’s Italian  – 3.5 blue
  • Brasserie Blanc – 3 blue
  • Las Iguanas – 3 blue
  • Loch Fyne  – 3 blue
  • Strada – 3 blue
  • TGI Friday – 1.5 blue

Red fish (worst) 

  • Yates – 1 red
  • Giraffe – 1.5 red
  • Little Chef – 2 red
  • Slug & Lettuce – 3 red
  • Wasabi – 3 red

MCS and Fish2fork are working to ensure that all seafood eaten or traded in the UK is from well managed fisheries and fish farms that have as little impact on the marine ecosystem as possible.

Diners can now post up their own reviews of restaurants across the UK using DinerRatings, an online initiative available via fish2fork.com or on the MCS Good Fish Guide app which is available, free, on iphone and android.

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Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

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The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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Dive Training Blogs

Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)

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It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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