Southbank Fresh Fish unveils free-of-charge sustainability advice service –

Southbank Fresh Fish unveils free-of-charge sustainability advice service Published:  26 November, 2012

Southbank Fresh Fish, one of London’s leading seafood suppliers with a client base that includes some of the capital’s leading restaurant groups, has today, November 26, launched its groundbreaking Southbank Sustainability Initiative (SSI).

This is a new strategy that aims to cut through a lot of the misinformation that surrounds sustainable seafood to help professional kitchens ensure the products they are sourcing are genuinely sustainable.

The free-of-charge SSI works on two levels: firstly, Southbank will study in great depth the seafood offerings appearing on its customer’s menu to gauge the true origins of the species; secondly, Southbank will help the customer understand the complexities of ethical and sustainable seafood and how these can further enhance their sourcing policy.

The SSI is the brainchild of Matthew Couchman, Southbank’s sales manager, who has more than 20 years of practical and retail experience in seafood. Couchman also holds a 1st Class Honours Degree in Fisheries Science from the University of Plymouth and it is this scientific background that is cornerstone of the new initiative.

Matthew comments: “There is so much information available about seafood sustainability, much of it contradictory, that chefs are understandably confused. Furthermore, many fisheries products will be sold to chefs as sustainable when the scientific proof of this claim doesn’t exist. It is clear that restaurants and caterers want to do the right thing but many need help. With my background in fisheries science, I believe Southbank is perfectly placed to provide the comprehensive hands-on assistance that chefs need to provide their customers with seafood dishes that are not only delicious but that are also proven to be sustainable.”

Through SSI, Matthew and the Southbank team thoroughly research every fish product appearing on a chef’s menu, tracing it right the way back through every stage of the supply chain to ensure the fishery is genuinely sustainably-managed. They will obtain and comprehensively document details on the catch methods of the product and where it is landed.

In addition, Southbank also will establish whether sustainability or eco-label certifications are in place for that fishery and/or the specific catching vessels, as well as where the product appears on the numerous high-profile consumer ‘fish-to-eat’ and ‘fish-to-avoid’ lists that are managed by international environmental organisations. Lastly, it will advise if there are any alternative products available that are proven to come from more responsibly-managed fisheries or aquaculture operations.

“It is not enough to only know which fishing area the product is coming from; that’s no proof of sustainability. But we can ascertain if a product is sustainable by asking the right questions about the fishery or the farm. The SSI is all about giving chefs and restaurateurs the confidence to ask the right questions. Southbank has always been proud of its ability to immerse itself in its customers’ business patterns, and through SSI we will work with chefs to demystify sustainability,” says Matthew.

Over the coming weeks, Southbank will be contacting all of its customers to make them aware of the SSI and to give them a greater understanding of its purpose.