Simpson’s fish and chips takeaway in Stroud has become the 100th in the UK to receive a coveted sustainable fish certificate, from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an NGO that sets a standard for sustainable fishing around the world.
Simpson’s can now use the MSC ‘blue fish’ label on its cod and haddock, assuring customers that the fish sold has been caught using sustainable methods. It also means it can be traced back to the fishermen who caught it.
Across the UK from Shetland to Penzance, the number of MSC-certified UK fish and chip shops has grown 30% on last year. Over two-thirds of the winners at the 2017 National Fish and Chip awards were MSC-certified.
Simpson’s was the first business to introduce MSC certified fish in Gloucestershire at its Cheltenham takeaway in 2014.
YouGov Research with fish and chip shop customers has shown very positive support for sustainable fish – with four in five fish and chip fans believing that chippies should serve certified sustainable fish.
A family business, Simpson’s first fish and chip shop was opened in 2009 by husband and wife team, Bonny and James Ritchie, but fish and chips have been in the family since 1976. Their ethos and commitment to sustainability is what led to the Cheltenham shop’s award-winning accolade of the UK’s Number 1 Fish & Chip Takeaway 2016.
James said: “It makes a considerable difference to us. Many people say they source sustainably but being able to prove this to your customers and promote the widely recognised ecolabel is a huge advantage.
“Stroud is well known for being an eco-friendly town and many customers quiz us on our menu items. People will now trust that we know where our fish has come from and in a time where the news is full of food-based scandals.”
George Clark, senior commercial manager at the MSC, said: “It’s such a huge milestone that there are now 100 fish and chip shops who care so much about the provenance of their fish to invest in getting MSC certified. It shows how far and fast the industry is moving forward and we are so proud to be able to celebrate this.”
He added: “Congratulations to Simpson’s who are doing their bit to protect the future of the oceans by selling MSC certified fish. We hope that their success will encourage other chippies in the area to follow their lead and offer their customers a sustainable choice.”
Choosing the blue fish label from fisheries, retailers, brands and restaurants guarantees sustainable, traceable methods and helps protect the life in our oceans for generations to come.