Though an acclaimed restaurateur, chef and author, Mitch Tonks, most succinctly summed up, has a love of seafood and an insatiable desire to share that passion with others.

Which is why, as a UK ambassador for the Marine Stewardship Council (MCS), the Rockfish Weymouth owner has thrown his weight behind the organisation's Little Blue Label, Big Blud Future campaign, to encourage most consumers to switch to seafood certified to its rigorous ‘blue label’ standard as a simple way to help make a big difference.

The initiative follows recent findings by the MSC, which show that high levels of concern for our oceans are driving a surge in consumer awareness and activism.

Results from the survey, conducted by independent insights consultancy GlobeScan, reveal that more than half of UK seafood shoppers (52 per cent) have made changes to the way they choose and buy seafood in the last year, with one in five switching to a brand or product which says it helps the oceans or fish.

This is backed up by purchasing data from MSC which shows that UK shoppers spent more than £1 billion on MSC certified sustainable seafood in 2019, an increase of 21 per cent on the previous year and representing nearly a third of all UK fish and seafood sales.

The Globescan research also reveals that an even larger proportion of UK consumers (72 per cent) recognise the importance of only consuming fish and seafood that comes from sustainable sources, and 83 per cent are willing to take action to protect fish and seafood in the future.

Increased consumer awareness and activism are being fuelled by the worry held by nearly one in three people in the UK (31 per cent) that their favourite fish will be off the menu in 20 years’ time, with this concern being higher in younger age groups.

“Over the last 25 years that I have worked in seafood I have watched things change, less big fish and species like wild salmon virtually disappearing, it was obvious to me that my love of seafood needed to go beyond eating and cooking and I needed to understand more about sustainability issues," says Mitch.

"It's something I have been concerned about and working with for a number of years and feel that dealing in certified sustainable well-managed species from local fisheries is the only way to go.”

Oceans are vital to life on earth3 with seafood providing an important source of protein to more than three billion people across the world. However, a third of fisheries around the world have been fished beyond sustainable limits, and a further 60 per cent are fished to their maximum capacity.

“With overfishing, climate change and pollution putting increasing pressure on our oceans, the choices we make as consumers have never been more important," says Erin Priddle, MSC’s Programme Director for UK and Ireland.

"It’s clear that UK seafood shoppers really do care where their seafood comes from and how it is sourced, and many are changing their purchasing habits in a bid to help safeguard our oceans."