Foodservice operators have been urged to use their “massive purchasing power” to source seafood sustainably and align their standards with the rest of the food industry.

Despite representing about a third of all seafood volume purchased in the UK, only a small percentage of foodservice companies had signed up to Sustainable Seafood Coalition, said its secretariat ClientEarth.

This compared with about 75% of the UK’s food retailers, the NGO said, as it called on companies in foodservice and catering to sign up to its code of conduct. “Their brands may not all be consumer-facing, but the foodservice sector is responsible for a large part of what seafood is served in restaurants, schools, hospitals and high street shops,” said ClientEarth sustainable seafood project leader Katie Miller.

“While consumers can now have confidence the majority of supermarket seafood is sourced in line with the SSC code, we would now like to see the foodservice sector, especially contract caterers and their suppliers, join the push for sustainable seafood through responsible sourcing practices.”

With increasing awareness around the need for responsibly sourced seafood, successful suppliers more than ever needed to be aligned with the demands of their customers and end-consumers, she added.

“We’re urging the foodservice sector to join the drive to make 100% of seafood sold in the UK sustainable,” Miller said.

“The coalition is currently raising standards across the whole seafood supply chain, we need the foodservice and catering sector to ensure the UK supply chain continues to be a world leader in environmental sustainability.”