Chair of the City of London’s Food Board Rosie Boycott has challenged London citizens and businesses to make the UK capital the world’s first Sustainable Fish City, as part of a campaign run by an alliance of not-for-profit organizations that aims to urge cities to develop sustainable seafood policies and practices.
“Taking a sustainable approach to fish is critical to the food security of our city,” said Boycott, whose board aims to help improve Londoners' access to healthy, locally produced, sustainable and affordable food. “It is shocking to think that within our lifetimes, we could lose some of our favorite species from the seas forever. Everyone who buys food in London, whether as a consumer or a food business, can help secure a sustainable fish future.”
London has already taken the first steps to becoming a Sustainable Fish City. In 2009, the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games committed to using only sustainable fish in catering for the Games. Following the Olympic lead, the Greater London Authority announced in December it would adopt the London 2012 food standards, including a commitment to sustainable fish. This will result in sustainable fish being served to London‚s police, transport workers, the fire brigade and GLA staff.
This month, several other major London organizations have promised to help London become a Sustainable Fish City by pledging to specify sustainable fish in their catering contracts and to promote sustainable fish to their customers. This includes the National Trust, five top London universities (City, Goldsmiths, Greenwich, Imperial College and SOAS), the D&D group of London restaurants, Moshi Moshi, Wahaca and the Duke of Cambridge gastropub. To protect fish stocks and marine ecosystems, the establishments have pledged to follow the campaign’s simple advice: Exclude the worst, promote the best and improve the rest.
“Londoners spend over £1 billion on fish every year, which is a vital opportunity to invest in sustainable fishing practices and support those fishermen who are doing their best to protect precious fish and ocean environments,” said Jon Walker, coordinator of the Sustainable Fish City campaign, which is run by a team of food and conservation groups. Sustainable Fish City will help London’s local authorities, schools, universities, caterers, shops and tourist attractions to serve sustainable fish, and its citizens to buy fish responsibly, with the aim of serving only sustainable fish by 2012.
The Sustainable Fish City challenge comes at a time when a major new investigation is being launched by celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Gordon Ramsay into the plight of fish stocks, and what should be done to save fish for future generations to enjoy. Fish Fight is a new television series calling on chefs, restaurants, caterers, food buyers and consumers to buy fish responsibly.
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Sustainable Fish City