Fish2Fork: It is the first attempt we know of to rate restaurants that serve fish not only for the quality of their food but also for the effect they are having on the seas and on marine life. We have come to realise in the past decade or so that fishing – or rather overfishing – is the main influence on 70 per cent of the planet’s surface. As was showed in the documentary film, The End of the Line, based upon my book of the same name, 80 per cent of the world’s fish stocks are fully or over-exploited and some fish species, such as the bluefin tuna or the beluga sturgeon, are now listed as critically endangered.
British journalist, Charles Clover, whose book led to the documentary film The End of the Line, is behind Fish2Fork. Its purpose is to educate and make known those eating establishments which are serving sustainable seafood vs. those that aren’t. Eaters have an opportunity to participate by posting their own shout-outs also.
“Environmental groups want to tell you the positive things. They want to show you how to do the right thing,” Clover said in an interview at The Washington Post. “Showing what’s wrong is the journalist’s job. And it’s the right thing to do.”
The fish2fork.com rating system is designed to inform customers whether a restaurant is doing all it can to serve sustainable seafood and reduce its impact on our oceans at a time when overfishing is perhaps the greatest threat to marine life on 70 per cent of the planet’s surface.
It also functions as a regular restaurant review website where diners can share their culinary experiences with others.
Restaurants are scored for the sustainability of the fish on their menu and their sourcing policies by filling in our questionnaire at www.fish2fork.com/questionnaire. Restaurants are invited to fill in these questionnaires, as are their customers.
When rating restaurants, we look to see whether any of the seafood they are serving is listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org; we also look at whether any of the seafood they serve appears as a “fish to avoid” – because fish stocks are not well managed – on the guides published online by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch www.montereybayaquarium.org in the USA or on the similar guide compiled by the Marine Conservation Society at www.fishonline.org in the UK.
We also score and review restaurants according to whether they provide full information about which species of fish or shellfish they serve on the menu, whether they say if it is farmed, and whether they state how it is caught. If the fish is farmed, we look at whether trouble was taken to avoid depleting overfished fish stocks of small fish used in fish food. We look at whether the restaurant has a policy on sustainable seafood sourcing where fish is caught by the most selective and least damaging methods, such as the Seafood Watch pledge, and whether fish are traceable from “boat to plate.”
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