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Brakes’ Sustainable Fish Cities pledge means sustainable fish for millions

22 May 2015  •  Author(s): Victoria White

Millions of UK schoolchildren, hospital patients, workplaces and restaurant diners are to be served only demonstrably sustainable fish, thanks to a pledge signed by Brakes, the UK’s largest food wholesale supplier.


The Sustainable Fish Cities pledge commits Brakes to a suite of measures which will ensure that all their general sale, own brand fish and seafood products are from verifiably sustainable sources; protecting precious marine environments and supporting sustainable fishermen and farmers.

Brakes’ new fish sourcing policy means that with immediate effect Brakes have stopped sourcing Marine Stewardship Council (MCS) 5 rated products and committed to removing or resourcing all 4 rated items within 12 months. Brakes will also clearly identify which products are most sustainable by applying the MCS’s 1-3 rating on their online product directory to help customers make the best choices.

Sustainable Fish Cities campaign aims to see only sustainable fish on menus in the UK

The pledge is a major boost to the Sustainable Fish Cities campaign, which aims to see only sustainable fish on menus in the UK, and is now active in 14 towns and cities across the UK’s Sustainable Food Cities network. Each local campaign is gathering fish commitments from schools, councils, universities, hospitals, workplaces and iconic venues. With sustainable fish now the norm for thousandsof Brakes customers in these sectors, many more pledges are expected across the network.

Ruth Westcott, Sustainable Fish Cities Project Officer at Sustain, explained, “This commitment is truly ground-breaking. It means that Brakes’ customers don’t actually need to know the ins and outs of seafood sustainability to make a good choice – the responsibility has been taken by their supplier. It is vital that the foodservice sector takes fish sourcing seriously – people are eating more fish than ever when they eat out and it is simply unacceptable that they should be able to choose an endangered fish from a menu in the UK. I am delighted to welcome Brakes as a Sustainable Fish Cities signatory in what feels like a significant turning point in the industry.”

Adam Swan, Category Director at Brakes, commented, “We are proud to be the first national fish supplier in the UK to commit to the Fish Cities pledge, giving Brakes customers unprecedented access to sustainable fish.

“The commitment will help caterers following important initiatives in their sectors such as schools’ “Food for Life” or the new Hospital Foods Standard as well as supporting our group and independent customers’ own sustainability claims. The new commitment means that customers buying Brakes products can meet their sustainability criteria and be confident in their supply chains.”

Brakes’ new fish policy means:

  • Brakes will not source any species on the MCS ‘Fish to Avoid’ list (those considered to be endangered or caught using very destructive fishing methods) for use in their general sale, own brand range
  • Customers will be able to choose from the widest range of MSC ecolabelled products of any UK fish and seafood supplier
  • Fish ratings will be displayed on Brakes’ online product directory to help customers make sustainable, informed choices
  • Brakes’ staff will receive training on sustainable fish to help advise customers on the best choices and ‘top swaps’

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