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Larger restaurant chains assessed for Seafood Sustainability

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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

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Mares & SSI launch new promotion

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SSI expands financial support to SSI Members worldwide. 

2020 has been an unusual and challenging year for the entire world, especially the diving and travel industry!  To weather the crisis, SSI immediately jumped into action to help Training Centers and Professionals around the world.  

In response to COVID-19, SSI launched the No Water, No Problem Campaign, put Final Exams online, and held hundreds of Webinars to train Professionals on how to use distance learning to teach the dry Specialties online. The FREE SCIENCE OF DIVING promotion resulted in SSI Training Centers worldwide register over 50,000 FREE DIGITAL KITS, funding more than $3.5 MILLION IN RETAIL VALUE. Additionally, SSI introduced an aggressive DOUBLE PRO REWARDS incentive to help SSI Professionals compensate 2020 Renewal Fees and reduce those for 2021. Currently, the WE WANT YOU Crossover promotion aims to fill the industry need for instructors and strengthen the entire SSI Professional community.

Now, in conjunction with Mares, SSI is launching the GO DIVING – PROTECT YOURSELF. OWN EQUIPMENT Promotion, which includes a FREE SSI EQUIPMENT TECHNIQUES DIGITAL KIT. This new campaign strives to motivate divers worldwide to go diving and buy equipment. Look for more information on this next retail support campaign within the next few days.

“These are just a few examples of how we have supported and are continuing to support our Training Centers, Professionals, and divers worldwide. To provide even more economic security and help in business recovery, WE WILL NOT INCREASE PRICES FOR 2021. While travel was restricted and some key resort areas completely locked down, SSI mainly focused on supporting domestic markets with retail-driven incentives. Now, in this next re-opening phase, we need to shift gear and assist resort markets that have no local diving community and are 100% dependent on the traveling diver. Therefore, SSI will grant certain special conditions and delayed payment options to specific resort markets which have been locked down for longer than six months or suffered from closed borders,” stated Guido Waetzig, SSI CEO.

Guido Waetzig, SSI CEO, explains further, “To financially support these needed investments which directly benefit SSI Members and to protect the health of our valuable members and staff, we will forego all 2021 Trade Shows over the next 12 months. Despite international uncertainty, every time we experience one of these events, the entire SSI Network emerges stronger and more resilient. Be assured, SSI is your trustful partner within the Diving Industry!”

For more information about SSI visit their website by clicking here.

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Photo Gallery: Shark Diving in The Bahamas

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In our Gallery feature, we let the photos tell the story… Each Gallery showcases a selection of outstanding images on a chosen theme, taken by our Underwater Photography Editor Nick and Deputy Editor Caroline of Frogfish Photography. This time they look at Shark Diving in The Bahamas.


The Bahamas offers some of the very finest shark diving experiences in the world. The islands have protected sharks in their waters creating one of the first Shark Sanctuaries in the world. Several species of shark can be seen and photographed, with each island offering a different type of shark diving, making this destination the perfect place for a multi-island, multi-shark trip of a lifetime.

Great Hammerhead Shark diving in Bimini

Bull Sharks in Bimini

Tiger Shark off Grand Bahama

Oceanic Whitetip Shark off Cat Island

Nurse Shark off Abaco

Caribbean Reef Sharks off New Providence

Lemon Sharks off Grand Bahama

For more images from The Bahamas and around the world, visit the Frogfish Photography website by clicking here.

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