Celebrity chefs and sustainability

Why celebrity chefs should stick to TV and leave sustainability issues to usFish and chips

In chip shop queues and fish restaurants across the country a dangerous epidemic is spreading. It started in TV land and has quickly worked its way through the general public and continues to spread its reach with no sign of slowing.

It is, in fact, the misconception that cod – the battered British favourite – is in short supply and that eating it is an ecological crime.

With a small army of TV chefs continually banging the drum for ‘more sustainable’ alternatives like pollock and pilchards, it’s little wonder that the idea has taken hold. At Collins, however, we believe cod remains an extremely sustainable choice if sourced properly – and we should know, given our extensive work around sustainability on the high seas.

Fears held by consumers that cod stocks are depleted and must be restored are actually unfounded. Granted, fresh fish from the North and Irish Sea is limited by European quotas and stocks are managed carefully.

But the Frozen At Sea cod that we supply is fully sustainable and caught from the Barents Sea and in Icelandic waters, most of which is now approved by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Not only are fish stocks in these areas abundant, but quotas set by the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission have even been increased this year by approximately 249,000 Tonnes – up 33% on last year – and are due to be increased again in 2014. This would be a strange move if the celebrity chefs were right and cod and haddock were nearing extinction.

Critics may argue that a fish supplier like us has an agenda to allay the fears of our customers. But we’re extremely proud of our support of the MSC, as well as the Responsible Fishing Scheme, and strive to ensure our supplies are traceable right back to sustainably operating vessels.

We believe that healthy waters cannot be maintained without eco-friendly fishing and we make it our mission to promote and practice ethical choices in seafood to support marine environments.

We do this while working closely with well-respected trawler operators that cover the Faro islands, Norway, Iceland, Germany, Scotland and Russia and are equally passionate about responsible sea fishing as we are.

Quality and sustainability are two of the most important aspects we consider at Collins. All our Frozen at Sea Fish is of the highest quality and, where possible, is MSC approved from fully traceable sustainable waters.

And so it is sustainability-focused operators like us – and not whimsical and ill-informed TV chefs – who are leading the way in protecting our underwater ecosystems.

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