Caterers find the way to sustainable seafood

Compass supports sustainable seas with expanded list of fish to avoid

At a time when some companies have just de-listed blue fin tuna, the world‘s largest contract caterer, Compass Group, has made a significant decision to increase its ‘Fish to Avoid’ List in the UK and Ireland from 13 species to 69*.

fish to avoidThese species will not be served in any Compass Group UK and Ireland restaurants, in any hospitality dishes or be used in any sandwiches or other grab-and-go offerings until the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) advises otherwise. This updated list takes immediate effect in all of Compass’ 6,500 sites including Oxford Brookes University, Lewisham Council’s schools, Chelsea FC, Procter & Gamble UK/Ireland and Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The species on Compass’ Fish to Avoid list have been identified by the MCS as the “most vulnerable to over-fishing and/or are fished using methods which cause damage to the environment or non-target species”** and include four varieties of skate, five tunas and two types of plaice.

The list offers details including the species, the methods of fishing and the geographical locations that are to be avoided, for example organically farmed Atlantic or Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified Pacific cod is fine to eat but Compass will not use wild Atlantic cod (caught from all areas except Northeast Arctic, Iceland and Western Channel, Bristol Channel and Southeast Ireland and Sole).

Compass created its Sustainable Seafood Guidelines, including its Fish to Avoid list, in October 2008. Blue fin tuna was included in the original list and in June 2009 swordfish was added, both in accordance with the MCS. The new list reflects the most up to date advice on the MCS website http://www.fishonline.org/advice/avoid/.

Neil Pitcairn, Fish and Seafood Buyer for Compass Group UK & Ireland, said, “As the world’s leading contract caterer providing meals to so many people each day, Compass’ decision to follow the MCS’ guidelines and delist these species is significant. There are many wonderful and delicious fish that can be caught without risk of over-fishing.”

Simon Brockington, the Marine Conservation Society’s Head of Conservation congratulated Compass Group UK & Ireland in taking this action. He said, “Compass is leading the catering sector in addressing fisheries sustainability. By removing stocks from MCS’ ‘fish to avoid’ list, Compass is helping to reduce demand for over-exploited fish. This is a crucial step in ensuring the long term survival of vulnerable fisheries.”

Ian El-Mokadem, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland, added, “Compass has a clear commitment to sustainable sourcing, whether this be through providing full traceability of products and suppliers, or supporting British and Fairtrade farmers and growers. We are proud to be the only contract caterer to whole-heartedly support the sustainability of the seas through our Sustainable Seafood Guidelines and Fish to Avoid list and we will continue to revise and update this regularly in accordance with the MCS website.”

* This number will fluctuate as and when the MCS revises its list.

** Source: www.fishonline.org