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John GoldAs Manager of Frankie’s, the most northerly fish and chip shop in the UK, we are very fortunate to be located in the midst of the rich and abundant North Sea Fisheries.

When we opened our new shop in 2008, we were very keen to source local and sustainable seafood.  We continue to promote and show initiative to other businesses in the trade and the many benefits of delivering to our customers the fresh and high quality seafood available and traceable from sea to plate which also equates to very low food miles. We are fully committed in continuing to provide this service to our customers and in turn this continues to help maintain healthy seafood stocks.

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Why do you think sustainable seafood is important for the Fish and Chip sector?

The fish and chip sector has developed over the past few years due to shops like ourselves setting a benchmark in being passionate and successful in sourcing sustainable seafood.  Offering sustainable choices creates great interest by customers, the general public and the media.  Implementing these positive developments brings the fish and chip trade to the forefront of the catering industry and on a par with many influential leaders regarding sustainable issues within the catering trade in the UK.

What have you done to advance seafood sustainability – what successes or challenges have you had?

1.    Gather Information to understand the sustainability of seafood you currently serve

Always asking questions of all suppliers, local fishermen and friends in the seafood industry and other colleagues in the Fish & Chip trade and visiting as many shops as possible.  Keeping up to date with MSC and Certified Fisheries, MCS ratings, Seafood Choices, Good Catch and the wider seafood industry regarding information which may benefit or alter how we take our business forward. Frankie’s is always forward thinking and willing to adapt to all new ideas and developments regarding sustainable issues

2.    Source Sustainably by choosing to: Avoid the Worst (e.g. rated as 5 by MCS), and Promote the Best

Our main fish sold is haddock which comes from North Sea MSC Certified Fisheries and we know from our supplier each day which boat has caught the fish which is displayed in our shop.  We have a fish buying policy which we adhere to and we follow the MCS ratings guide. Our mussels are rope-grown in the village.  We deal proactively with suppliers and producers regarding sustainable policies and practices.  Our fish are all caught by boats that are part of the Responsible Fishing Scheme.

3.    State Your Commitment with a publicly available policy

We have a sustainability and fish buying policy which is regularly updated.  This information is displayed in our shop and our customers and staff are all made aware of this.  Policies are also posted on our website and available to our suppliers.  All staff are fully trained on all aspects of our business commitment to sustainability and where our seafood is sourced from on a daily basis.

4.    Communicate Clearly with customers and your whole team

All staff are trained to communicate to our consumers regarding our seafood sustainability.  Staff are trained through inductions courses and refresher courses and this includes details of sourcing our seafood and visits to our suppliers, fish markets and producers.  We also communicate through flyers, posters, twitter, facebook, website and promoting and marketing through newspapers, magazines and daily online news pages.

5.    Influence Wider Progress by encouraging others to join your seafood sustainability journey

We have attended various seafood workshops in Edinburgh and London.  We are signed up to Hugh’s Fish Fight, SRA, WDCS and we attend members meetings of Ocean2012 in London and Brussels regarding CFP Reform and we are guests at the Sustainable Fish City Awards in London in March.   We visit local schools with our ‘Seafood in Schools’ learning power point package and boxes of fresh fish which the children thoroughly enjoy and which makes them think.

Any other comments…

Developing our sustainable policies has had a very positive affect on our business and due to growing public concern regarding overfishing, the sustainable seafood movement has gained momentum as more people become aware of these practices and the environmentally destructive fishing methods. Eateries must offer sustainable seafood options and continue to reward sustainable fishing practices by promoting certified fisheries which become available.  Being sustainably aware is a win win situation.

Good Catch: Good Catch provides practical information for chefs, caterers and restaurateurs, making it easier for them to serve more sustainable seafood.

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