Sustainability - is it the right word?

Sustainability is a word that seems to have comfortably slipped into our everyday language. In fact it’s so common place I'm beginning to question the merits of its use.

In fact it has a very precise meaning as defined in the 1987 Brundtland Report. "Sustainability is the meeting of the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The three strands that connect this definition are its effects on our environment, socially and economically". It's also a definition which has to be viewed globally. We may spray pesticides in Argentina which may affect fish stocks in Australia which may then have health consequences for people consuming that fish in America. So the question is, is it safe to use the word sustainable and fishing in the same sentence? This isn't meant to be a dig at MSC (Marine Stewardship Council), but just because a species or fishery is MSC approved it doesn't necessarily mean it's wise to be using this fish. Consideration has to be given to the impact of moving this fish around the planet, great care and attention needs to be given to what volume you may be demanding and whether the fishery can support the demands being made on that resource long term.

It's now being debated that MSC approval of a fishery gives people the green light that a species is OK to buy, which has the knock-on effect that people then buy this fish from unapproved fisheries. In truth sustainability and the fishing of wild stocks don't sit well with each other, the world and its appetite for fish must mean the future surely has to be fish farming.

For those of you that haven't had a chance to visit us we are in one of Gloucestershire's beautiful spots. The poet Wordsworth, a regular in these parts, described it: … "happy is the eye that dwelleth between the Severn and the Wye …". George Bernard Shaw, writing to Ellen Terry, described looking across the River Wye to the Forest of Dean as: "… The God who made this country was an artist; he moulded his hills so that their lines run down into the valleys, and trimmed them with tufted woods quite magically so that not an acre glares however warm the sun is. The fellow who turned out Dorking was Bank Holiday tradesman by comparison."

If I was you I would not take the word of a couple of old "artistes", come down and see for yourselves.

Congratulations to Hansen and Lydersen a small Artisan smoke house in London who have just won a YBF (Young British Foodies) award for their smoked salmon. In their search for a unique fish to smoke they approached us to supply them with our Var Salmon from the Faroes.

Congrats also to local Easington Primary School (even younger foodies) who were one of the 4 winners of the national "Cook for The Queen" Queen Elizabeth II diamond jubilee canapé competition. The children will now be invited to Buckingham Palace’s kitchens where Royal Chef Mark Flanagan will produce a selection of their prize winning canapés.

The last few weeks has been nothing but installation of tanks in schools as part of our eel tanks in school scheme. We have been quite brave this year and have tanks in Dartmouth, Exeter, Malvern, all over Gloucestershire, London and even a couple in Suffolk. We have plans to do several releases in London and there is the possibility of doing one in the Olympic Park after the Olympics.

Ever since Blur were announced as the headline act for the Olympic Games closing concert there has been a PR juggernaut ploughing through our press with stories that bass player Alex James has finally made good with creditors of his food and music festival of last year, and has given several interviews giving his side of the story. Well, last week it was announced that the event is going to be restaged this year 1st – 2nd September on his farm again but this time Jamie Oliver and his events team are taking over the organisation, and a portion of profits will be going to the Jamie Oliver Foundation. Maybe it's time to forgive Alex for previous mistakes but I still can't forgive him for his hand in producing tandoori flavoured cheese slices.

More news soon.

Dai Francis