After two years of hard work Durham City became only the second city in the UK to achieve this award, which was presented to Cllr Bill Moir, Deputy Mayor, by Ruth Westcott from Sustain at a food procurement conference in early July 2016.
Their five-star Sustainable Fish City rating means that food served across all Durham University colleges and departments will only ever contain sustainable fish, as will all meals served to patients, staff and visitors in County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. Sustainable fish will be on the menu at Durham County Council’s offices, in school meals in all the county’s primary schools, and in food served in New College Durham, East Durham College and Finchale College, Durham’s Botanic Gardens, and across many of the city’s top restaurants. The combined commitments cover businesses and institutions serving well over twelve and a half million meals per year and mean that the majority of fish served out of home will be covered by a pledge.
Celebrating the achievement at the City’s second food procurement mini-conference, Deputy Mayor Bill Moir said “We are delighted to have become only the second city in the UK to achieve Sustainable Fish City status. I am proud of all the businesses and institutions in Durham that have come together to say that they will only serve sustainable fish. Cities like Durham can do a lot to help protect our oceans by saying that they will only buy fish which is verifiably sustainable, and this sends a clear message down the supply chain that we want to reward responsible fishing.”
The institutions involved have committed to remove all products containing fish considered to be ‘fish to avoid’ by the Marine Conservation Society, and serve those considered ‘fish to eat’ and those which carry the . A number of Durham’s pledges will have a big impact outside the city, including supporter Tiffin Sandwiches, who produce over 7 million sandwiches per year for sale in shops and take-aways across the country. Taylor’s, the local fish suppliers, have customers across Northern England and Taylor Shaw, the company that supplies school meals across the county are strongly considering rolling out this initiative across all of their business.
Durham’s campaign has been led by Food Durham and the catering team at Durham University. Liz Charles, co-ordinator of Food Durham said ‘It is fantastic to see what we can achieve as a city when we come together to say that we only want to serve fish from sustainable stocks. This award is fantastic for Durham but even better news for the beautiful marine ecosystems that are at risk from overfishing.”
The award comes as part of Food Durham’s wider initiative to create a healthier, fairer, and greener food system by getting more people growing food, improving access to good food and supporting local supply chains.