A British restaurant-led initiative is linking independent fisher families with chefs, in an effort to create shorter food chains and improve the sustainability of fisheries. The Pisces Responsible Fish Restaurants (RFR) program has been piloted with London and Brighton-based restaurant groups since 2004, and is now expanding in London, the Sussex coast and the ‘transition town’ of Totnes in Devon.
The project assists chefs to find better and more sustainable fish, by setting up direct relationships between restaurants and small scale fishing boats. Fisheries are researched thoroughly and direct support is given to fishermen who are reducing the impact on the marine environment and rebuilding fish stocks, providing them with better prices and securing their livelihood. By supporting better fishing practices and quality control, RFR provides chefs with fresh, seasonal, local and high quality fish, therefore creating buyer-driven pressure for change.
RFR was developed in response to the dire state of British waters and the lack of power many restaurants felt they had to change the situation. While the importance of sustainable fishing is well known, a minefield of information, time, cost and many practical issues make it difficult for chefs to source high quality, local and sustainable fish.
The project was co-established by restaurateur Caroline Bennett (Moshi Moshi and Soseki) and marine ecologist Malcolm MacGarvin. Funded by Esmée Fairbairn, it received a ‘Green Apple’ from the Green Organization in 2005, an award recognizing environmental best practice around the world.
To find out more, visit www.pisces-rfr.org