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Barry Samms, Garrets marine catering

Garrets are a leading Marine Catering Management Company and the largest marine caterer in the world, providing various on-board catering services to ship owners and ship managers since 1991.

Garrets are developing a strong interest in sustainable food with policies including free range eggs and programmes already underway to use free range chicken and pork. The company is working with Sustainable Fish City on developing a robust sustainable fish policy to cover their purchasing arrangements around the world.

The picture shows Barry Samms, Food Purchasing Manager of Garrets, meeting the Queen when the company won a Queen's Award for Industry. Barry Samms is also leading the work on sustainable food at Garrets, and explains why he is changing the way Garrets sources fish.

Why do you think sustainable fish is important?

We believe that it is our duty to maintain the oceans of this world and that we need to change our purchasing and eating habits if we are to sustain what is a delicate marine ecosystem.

What inspired Garetts to take action on sustainable fish?

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recently had a TV series called Hugh's Fish Fight, which really opened my eyes to the whole issue. His passion and commitment really came through and it just made me realise that as the largest marine caterer in the world we could really make some improvements within our own infrastructure. 

And what have Garrets done as a result?

Firstly, we now have recipes for our crews which contain a wider variety of more sustainable fish. We have started speaking to our suppliers to make them aware that we will be implementing changes who have in turn been in contact with their various fish markets for further information which they have been providing back to us. We are planning to give a talk about the need to purchase sustainable fish at the 2011 International Marine Purchasers Association conference in London.

What would you say to a concerned citizen interested in supporting sustainable fish?

I would say give things a try - until very recently I personally rarely ate any other fish other than salmon, cod and tuna. I now eat a much wider variety and must say that I am really enjoying it. 

Try out our Top Ten Swaps and give endangered species a break!

What would you say to a caterer who is interested in serving sustainable fish? 

Again, try it - people need to have the option. If we keep on using fish stocks the way we are somewhere along the line we are going to have to pay the price. We have had no complaints where we have increased the variety of fish we use and in some cases removed species where the sustainability of stocks or fishing methods cannot be guaranteed.

What would you say to someone in a similar business to yours, to inspire them to supply sustainable fish?

I would say that you can look at this in two ways. Firstly, you are going a long way to ensure the future of the stability of our oceans and secondly. And from an economical point of view, we are finding it actually more cost effective to source other varieties of fish the world over.

What would you say to a business that hasn't yet tackled the issue of sustainable fish?

It's time to do some research. In time there will be a large public swing towards purchasing and consuming more sustainable fish, so why not start making the changes now? It wasn't too long ago that hardly anyone stocked free range eggs and now the majority of consumers choose free range.

Find out more about the work of Garrets at:
And read about their sustainable food commitments.

Raymond Blanc OBE, Chef Patron, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

Good ethics should be part of everyday business. Many restaurants and caterers in this are helping to protect our precious marine resources. They should get rightful recognition and inspire others to do the same.

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