Saturday, 8 September 2012

Food Futures and Sustainable Fishing

Food Futures is a partnership that embraces a wide range of individuals and organisations with an interest in improving food in Manchester. Its ambitious goal is to create a culture of good food in the city, based on the belief that good food is enjoyable, safe, nutritious, environmentally sustainable, and produced ethically and fairly; and that everyone in Manchester has a right to good food – no-one should have this right denied because of where they live, their income or their background. 

The Food Futures strategy embraces the whole food agenda for the city – from improving health, tackling health inequalities and reducing the environmental impact of food, to building sustainable communities and strengthening the local economy.

In October 2010 The Market Restaurant gained the Food Futures Silver Award.  Not only did this recognise the work that has gone on here over thirty years but also raised our awareness of a range of issues.

Although the health benefits of eating fish for instance are clear, with over fishing, depleting stocks and environmentally degrading fishing methods, it is difficult to know what species to eat with a clear conscience. We were alerted to the work of the Marine Conservation Society who have produced the Good Fish Guide to advise which species to eat and which to avoid, including the reasons not to eat them.

Some that are to be avoided are from unsustainable stocks; others are long-lived, slow growing, late to mature and vulnerable to overfishing; some are caught by dredging the sea bed, damaging natural marine habitat and disturbing sealife. 

Those that are recommended are from sustainable stocks, certified organic sources, line caught or have healthy stock numbers.

The advice given by the Marine Conservation Society is provided as a guide to consumers and buyers to make an environmentally informed choice about the fish they buy. The information does not include any advice on health benefits or risks associated with eating any particular fish species.

As part of our menu planning we are able to search the background of any fish we seek to put on the menu.  This does not always correspond with what is available but it has certainly raised our awareness.

For easy reference MCS has also produced a Pocket Good Fish Guide. We predict that it will not be long before guests refer to it in the Restaurant.  Each of the fish have been given a rating to enable the reader to quickly identify species that are considered to be sustainably and sensitively harvested, and those species which are not.

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