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Larger restaurant chains assessed for Seafood Sustainability



Joint study finds some firms with unsustainable choices on the menu

More than half the UK’s large restaurant chains are using seafood from overfished areas of the sea or fail to be transparent about the origins of their fish and shellfish, an assessment by Fish2fork and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) suggests.

Sea bass, whitebait, cod and king prawns are among the types of seafood used by the restaurants which come from fisheries rated “avoid” by the Marine Conservation Society or for which the source is unclear.

The findings were made by Fish2fork, the online restaurant guide, in a joint project with MCS to assess a dozen of the biggest restaurant chains serving at least four species of seafood.

The chains boast a total of more than 1,800 branches between them and serve thousands of tonnes of seafood each year.

Seven of the chains failed to reach the basic level of sustainability on seafood that Fish2fork and MCS believe to be the minimum standard.

Yo! Sushi and Pret A Manger were found to be the most sustainable chains and followed highly responsible approaches to buying seafood. Yo! Sushi, which serves more species of seafood than any of the other chains assessed, was given a Fish2fork 4 blue fish rating while Pret achieved an excellent 4.5 blue fish. Under the Fish2fork rating system, 4 and 4.5 blue fish are the highest ratings yet achieved, out of a maximum of 5.

Table Table also impressed and earnt a 2.5 blue fish rating. A spokeswoman for the restaurant chain said: “Table Table is delighted to be recognised for its sustainable sourcing credentials  as we are committed to continuing to give preference to wild caught fish and seafood, certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) chain of custody and line and pole standards. In working with Fish2Fork, we hope that more consumers have a greater understanding of the role they play in choosing sustainably caught fish.”

Hungry Horse also achieved a 2.5 blue fish rating while Zizzi, with 1 blue fish, was also found to exceed minimum expectations.

Sam Fanshawe, Marine Conservation Society Chief Executive said: “Working with Fish2fork, MCS aims to make the UK the first sustainable seafood nation in the world.  MCS advice on seafood sustainability has already influenced major supermarkets to adopt sustainable sourcing policies and the restaurant sector needs to follow suit. We’re very encouraged that major high street chains like Pret A Manger and Yo! Sushi are leading the way, demonstrating that sustainable seafood is good for business as well as the environment.”

Tim Glover, co-founder and managing director of Fish2fork, said: “Some restaurant chains are making every effort to ensure the seafood they put on their menus is caught sustainably or farmed responsibly.

“But we believe the sector as a whole should be putting much more effort into sourcing practices and the information given to customers. Diners want to eat with a clear conscience, to know that their menu choices are not further damaging our hard-pressed seas.

“To do so, they need clear assurances from restaurants that the fish and shellfish offered to them come from a well-managed fishery or farm. Our assessments show that too many restaurants are either serving seafood we believe should be kept off the menu, or are giving so little information on menus and websites that customers can have little clue to the origins.”

Mr Glover added: “We congratulate the restaurant chains which have earned blue Fish2fork ratings. They have shown an awareness of the issues of marine sustainability and a willingness to source responsibly and inform customers – this can only be good for the marine environment.”

The biggest issue identified by the Fish2fork and MCS project was lack of transparency on the sources of the seafood being served. Two-thirds of the restaurants – eight out of 12 – served at least one species of seafood that could have come from an overfished fishery. Only half of the restaurant chains were willing to provide full answers to questions by Fish2fork about the sources of their seafood. This lack of transparency makes it impossible for the public to be sure the seafood being served is from sustainably managed fisheries.

Bella Italia, Ask, Harvester, Wagamama, Café Rouge, Chiquito, and Frankie & Benny’s were given Fish2fork red fish ratings. The lowest was Bella Italia with 1.5 red fish. The lowest possible rating is 5 red fish. While it is disappointing that any chain restaurants have merited a red fish award, there were indications that none of the seven that were given red fish ratings would need to introduce enormous changes to earn a blue fish award.

The joint project between Fish2fork and MCS was conducted during a successful trial period of co-operation between the two organisations. Fish2fork and MCS are now working towards a full merger. Together, Fish2fork and MCS are working to ensure that all seafood eaten or traded in the UK is caught or produced sustainably. Individually they have challenged different sections of the supply chain whereas working together they will be able to influence all of it – from boat to plate.

Mr Glover said: “This merger is good for Fish2fork, good for MCS and, more importantly, good for the marine environment. We will be able to cover the entire supply chain, making us greater than the sum of our parts. Together, we hope to bring about changes with the overarching aim of ensuring all our seafood comes from sustainable sources, which will help preserve fish stocks long into the future.”

Mrs Fanshawe added: “Seafood is increasingly popular, but our fish stocks are under increasing pressure. By joining forces with Fish2fork, we aim to ensure that whether you’re in the supermarket, at a restaurant, or ordering a takeaway, UK customers and diners have the information about where to go and what to buy to protect our fish for the future.”

The ratings:

Blue rated:
Pret a Manger         4.5 blue
Yo! Sushi                4 blue
Hungry Horse         2.5 blue
Table Table             2.5 blue
Zizzi                        1 blue

Red rated:
Café Rouge             0.5 red
Harvester                0.5 red
Wagamama             0.5 red
Ask                          1 red
Chiquito                    1 red
Frankie & Benny’s   1 red
Bella Italia                 1.5 red


Get moving with the new RAID DPV training programs



The thrill of speeding through the water behind a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is an experience that really gets the blood racing. Using a DPV provides divers both immense fun and the means to achieve goals that would be impossible without their use.

RAID is proud to announce the new two-tier DPV training program with certifications for DPV and Advanced DPV.

Why DPV and why now?
Recreational and technical divers are using DPVs to access sites that would be difficult to reach and explore using traditional propulsion methods; to help propel large amounts of heavy equipment; to increase the safety of dives in areas of strong current; or just for the pure exhilaration of shooting through the water at speed and performing underwater acrobatics.

By extending your capabilities and extending your range, using a DPV opens new vistas for exploration and fun.

This certification option is aimed at the recreational diver who wishes to learn how to use a DPV to enhance their diving by using mainly natural navigation.

Advanced DPV
This certification option is available to anyone who is familiar with longhose configuration, has logged a minimum of 20 dives and is certified as Navigation specialty divers.

This certification option is aimed at the slightly more experienced diver with preexisting navigational training and diving on a single, twin or sidemount setup with a longhose. Although this level is slightly more challenging, the more advanced navigation exercises provide an important base for more complex types of DPV diving within a team.

You must:

  • Be a minimum of 12 years old.
  • Be certified as RAID Open Water 20, Junior Open Water or equivalent.

Just visit to put some extra dash into your dives.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Beers raise cash for ocean clean-up



The Driftwood Spars Brewery, a pioneering microbrewery based on the North Cornwall coast, is donating a percentage of all profits from its Cove range of beers to Fathoms Free, a certified charity which actively cleans the ocean around the Cornish peninsula.

Each purchase of the small-batch, craft beers – there are four different canned beers in the Cove range – will help generate funds to purchase a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and fund retrieval dives; every brew will raise the equivalent cost of a fully-funded dive. 

Fathoms Free is a Cornwall-based charity whose day-to-day mission involves dives from their fast-response specialist vessel to recover ghost fishing gear; abandoned nets, pots, angling equipment and other plastic causes severe damage to the marine environment and the death of countless seabirds, seals, dolphins and other sea life.

The campaign to raise funds for an ROV is a new initiative which will take the clean-up work to a new level; the highly manoeuvrable underwater vehicle will be used to scour the seabed, harbours and remote parts of the coastline for abandoned fishing gear and other marine litter.

Project Manager Natallia Paliakova from Fathoms Free said: “Apart from helping us locate ghost gear underwater, the ROV will also be capable of recording underwater video which is always great for raising awareness about marine pollution issues.”

She added: “We are really excited to be partnering with The Driftwood Spars Brewery and appreciate the proactive support of Mike and his team in bringing the purchase of an ROV a step closer to reality.”

Head Brewer Mike Mason personally approached the charity after their work was featured on the BBC 2 documentary, ‘Cornwall with Simon Reeve’.    

He said: “As a keen surfer I am only too aware of the problem of marine litter and had heard about Fathoms Free, but seeing them in action prompted me to find a way of contributing. The scale of the challenge is scary, but the determination of organisations like Fathoms Free is inspiring.”

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

The Driftwood Spars Brewery was founded in 2000 in Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes; the microbrewery is just a few steps away from it’s co-joined brewpub, The Driftwood Spars; both pub and brewery are well-regarded far beyond the Cornish cove they call home. 

You can hear the waves and taste the salt on the air from the door of both brewery and pub, and the rough seas along the rugged North coast often throw up discarded nets and other detritus; Louise Treseder, Landlady of The Driftwood Spars and a keen sea swimmer, often collects washed up ghost gear on her daily beach excursions.     

Louise commented: “This is a great partnership to support a cause close to our hearts – I know the money we raise will have a positive and lasting impact. The Cove range was inspired by our unique surroundings and the artwork – by local artist Jago Silver – reflects that. Now donations from each purchase will contribute towards the vital ocean clean-up taking place right on our doorstep.”

The Cove range can currently be purchased online here, and is available in good independent bottle shops in Cornwall.

To find out more about Fathoms Free visit their website here.

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This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email to book your spot!

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