World’s first MSC certified fish and chip shop celebrates 12 years of sustainable seafood
Andrew Crook - NFFF President
March 16, 2021

Scotland’s Anstruther Fish Bar and Restaurant is celebrating twelve years of serving delicious sustainable seafood after it gained its Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) recertification last month. (1) 

The Fife fish bar became the world’s first MSC certified fish and chip shop in April 2009 and has been cooking up sustainable seafood ever since. 

Owner Alison Smith said she was thrilled to be recertified. “I can’t believe it is twelve years since we got involved with the MSC!” she said. 

Loren Hiller, Senior Commercial Officer at MSC, UK & Ireland, commented: “This is a huge milestone for both Anstruther Fish Bar and Restaurant and the MSC. Anstruther was the first ever fish and chip shop to become MSC certified and it has played a vital role in serving customers with certified sustainable seafood for the last twelve years. Its ongoing commitment reinforces the importance of sustainable sourcing and protecting fish for future generations and more fish and chip shops are now following in its footsteps.

“With MSC commissioned research (2) showing that almost three-quarters of seafood consumers believe we should only eat seafood from sustainable sources there has never been a more important time to source from MSC certified sustainable fisheries.” 

The restaurant serves hake from a MSC certified fishery off south-west Africa which is hugely popular with customers. The South African hake fishery last month gained its MSC recertification for the fourth time and has been certified for 16 years.  

Alison added: “The biggest challenge we foresee in the protection of our oceans is education. As individuals, we can all do our own wee bit but we most importantly need to help raise awareness on a global scale that our oceans need protecting – now.” 

This sentiment is backed up by a survey conducted for MSC by GlobeScan which showed that some 83 per cent of UK consumers are willing to take action to protect fish and seafood in the future. (3) 

The fish bar, located in the East Neuk area of Fife opposite the picturesque harbour, opened in 2003.  Alison and her husband Robert had been running a fish processing business for many years before this, supplying hand-filleted haddock to fish and chips shops and retailers throughout the region. Fishing is in the blood for both of them. 

Alison explains: “Generations of both our families made their living in the fishing and related industries here in this wee corner of Fife, from the early 1700s right through to present day. Mainly as fishermen and fish curers but also as carters, coopers and herring girls, they worked hard to provide for their crews and their families.  

“So, I think that we have always been aware of the need to protect our seas and oceans for future generations, not just here in Fife, but throughout the world.” 

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