Top chef Raymond Blanc and the European Fisheries Minister Maria Damanaki have called on London’s chefs and caterers to use their buying power to make London the world’s first ever sustainable fish city.
Raymond Blanc OBE, ambassador for the Sustainable Fish City campaign , welcomed 100 guests to Fishmongers’ Hall  by London Bridge and the River Thames. Participants included Michelin-starred chefs, independent restaurant owners, some of the UK’s largest restaurant and pub chains, policymakers, fish sustainability experts and fishermen. The aim was to discuss how to use the power of the restaurant and catering industry to transform the market for sustainable fish, and practical support needed to achieve this.
Recognising the huge advances in the catering industry’s awareness of the issues, Raymond Blanc praised many of those already taking a lead by removing endangered species from menus , paying attention to where and how their farmed prawns are produced, supporting smaller and sustainable fishers, and promoting fish from sustainably managed fisheries, as verified by the Marine Stewardship Council .
Urging the hospitality industry to act now, and to use and promote sustainable fish, Raymond Blanc highlighted the combined buying power of the attendees – millions of pounds worth of fish every year, saying: “Today’s chef is not only a craftsman, he also needs to be a teacher, a transmitter of values and an expert in sustainability issues – and, of course, he needs to make money. It is a tough ask. Welcome to the new world! Actually all this is really to the good – for chefs are now reconnecting with the true values of gastronomy.” 
Also speaking at the event, EU Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Maria Damanaki, paid tribute to the attendees and the campaign, “The Sustainable Fish City initiative in London is a perfect example on how you are driving change in the world towards better and more tasty menus.” 
Guests also heard from the Marine Stewardship Council on the increasing range of certified sustainable seafood now available, and from the conservation science organisation, the Marine Conservation Society, which likened putting the endangered Atlantic Halibut on a menu as the environmental equivalent of serving up Panda. Chefs also learned about the practicalities of serving sustainable fish from SeaWeb’s Seafood Choices who presented practical tips and guidance from the Good Catch initiative  to help chefs buy the right fish and engage staff and customers.
Delegates then discussed the success, barriers and solutions to buying and serving sustainable fish.
Jon Walker, coordinator of the Sustainable Fish City campaign, commented, “It is wonderful and heartening to see so many businesses dedicate time to discuss how they can protect our precious marine resources.”
Raymond Blanc concluded, “This Sustainable Fish Forum has been extraordinary. We have a roomful of restaurateurs, hoteliers and group owners who are willing to listen and want to bring sustainability to their kitchens and restaurants. This tells us that the world is changing, that chefs are an emerging force to lead us towards better fishing practices and better sustainability.”
Sustainable Fish City is a Sustain campaign