Help Bristol to become a Sustainable Fish City

Published on by Flora McMorrin .

People are eating more fish than they used to, and a lot of it is being caught by destructive methods. Some scientists estimate that, at current rates of decline, most of the world’s fish stocks could collapse within our lifetimes. Over half a billion people depend on fish for food and for their livelihood, so this would have dire social and ecological consequences.

The world is now seriously at risk of losing some species from our seas forever.

The Sustainable Fish Cities campaign aims to help cities become places where citizens only eat fish from sustainable sources.

By improving the sourcing policies of organisations and businesses who buy and serve a lot of fish we can bring about a significant increase in the demand for sustainable fish. In turn this will help protect precious marine resources, ecosystems and the jobs of those working in the fishing industry.

"I have been travelling around the UK meeting fishermen, marine conservationists, politicians, supermarkets bosses, and of course fish-eating members of the public. It has changed the way I think about fish.”

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Fish Fight

European Green Capital 2015 offers Bristol a great opportunity to lead the way and aim to become a Sustainable Fish City.

The wheels are already turning in Bristol with a number of high profile organisations taking action.

Bristol Zoo Gardens, the Nuffield Hospital, HSBC and KPMG are now only serving fish certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. North Bristol NHS Trust and Bristol Football Club have also eliminated endangered fish from their menus.

Achieving Sustainable Fish City Status – how it works

Businesses and organisations that buy food can sign a public pledge to only serve sustainable fish. This commits the organisation to adopting a fully sustainable seafood policy.

To achieve Sustainable Fish Cities status, a city must achieve a number of signed pledges in 5 key sectors from a list which includes schools and council catering, hospitals, higher education, work settings, restaurants and iconic buildings.

The pledge commits an organisation to take the appropriate steps to buy sustainable seafood by;

  • stating a commitment to developing and implementing a policy on sustainable seafood,
  • assessing and monitoring the environmental sustainability of the fish they serve and making sustainable seafood choices by avoiding the worst and promoting the best
  • the organisation is also pledging to communicate their sustainable seafood policy and to influence and encourage others to follow their lead

By turning Bristol into a driving force for sustainable fish consumption we can join forces with other cities and help transform the market for sustainable fish across the world, and in doing so support fisheries that are demonstrably sustainable. Bristol can lead the charge towards a sustainable fishing future and this is the year to deliver.

To find out more contact Flora McMorrin at