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The sustainable fish that’s transforming the British seafood business

The MSC's George Clark follows the trail of Cornish hake from ocean to plate and celebrates some pioneers of the UK seafood business
MSC certified Cornish hake fishing vessel, Ajax PZ36.

Recent years have seen considerable growth in interest for serving MSC certified sustainable seafood in the UK’s restaurants and fish and chip shops. Much of this is driven by the preferences of increasingly aware consumers.

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Fish and Chip shops across the UK and Ireland help to #TurnTheTide

The MSC's #TurnTheTide campaign celebrates sustainable fish & chips.
Fish and chips meal

The MSC’s #TurnTheTide campaign celebrates the collective impact achieved by 75 MSC certified fish and chip shops across the UK and Ireland. By visiting these fish and chip shops, buying the quintessential British takeaway and sharing your experience online you can help promote their fantastic efforts and encourage others to help #TurnTheTide with us!

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Why a tin of sustainable sardines feels like a Christmas present

When asked to write a Christmas blog post, George Clark initially struggled to think of a theme that related both to the work of the MSC and the festive season. In the end, it was actually quite simple…
Bart van Olphen and George Clark from MSC visit Cornwall

The MSC has been setting standards for sustainable fishing for over 15 years now. Fisheries can verify that they operate sustainably, and consumers can choose their fish and seafood on that basis.

So I thought let’s link Christmas to the ‘principle product’ of our work: labelled, certified fish to eat. Though I work in the UK where fish isn’t traditionally part of the Christmas menu, many countries do celebrate with seafood delicacies. If we take a more international view, there are plenty of fantastic and Christmassy fish products available with the MSC ecolabel: smoked salmon, lobster, caviar, herring, the list goes on…

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Tracing change on the water and in our restaurants

MSC UK commercial manager George Clark on the improved accessibility of traceable sustainable fish.
MSC certified restaurants

The first things that struck me when I started working at the MSC were the level of knowledge and the sheer breadth of the organisation. Realising the scale of the whole seafood industry has been an eye-opener too. I’ve since come to understand why the MSC needs to be like this – big in scale and rich in knowledge – in order to provide a workable sustainable solution for the fish we put on our plates.

Something I didn’t know before starting work here was that seafood remains the number one traded food commodity globally, at a value of over US$130 billion in 2013 – more than tea, coffee and sugar combined. This fact, along with the hundreds of different species, fisheries, methods, nations, makes the sustainability of fish – and the way to measure that – an extremely difficult task.

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