PLYMOUTH has become the first city in the world to secure a Fish2fork Blue City Award.

Paul Cox, Director of Conservation and Communication at the National Marine Aquarium made the announcement today at the Big Food Debate, and proudly presented the award to Plymouth Councillor, Tudor Evans.

Paul also revealed the National Marine Aquarium will now be spearheading Plymouth’s bid to become a Sustainable Fish City, as it continues to drive sustainable fish sourcing in the city.

The National Marine Aquarium, Destination Plymouth and Plymouth University Marine Institute joined forces last year to initiate the Plymouth Blue City project to demonstrate the sustainable seafood credentials of the city’s restaurants.

Over the last year, restaurateurs across the city have been working hard to qualify for a Fish2fork Blue Fish rating which reflects the restaurant is acting sustainably in choosing its seafood and engaging customers with information about the credentials of the food served.

With the majority of the city’s restaurants now demonstrating excellent sustainable seafood practices, Plymouth has been successful in its bid to become the first city in the world to achieve the Fish2fork Blue City award.

The Aquarium will now be looking for other caterers to follow the restaurants’ lead as Plymouth bids to become one of the UK’s first Sustainable Fish Cities.

The campaign, which is supported by top star chef, Raymond Blanc and run by a team of food and conservation groups, has so far succeeded in signing up towns and cities feeding over 13 million people to take up the challenge; Belfast, Bournemouth and Poole, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle, Hull, Lancashire, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Plymouth and Stockport.

The Plymouth bid is already off to a strong start as the Fish2fork Blue City award qualifies for one of the five stars, Sustainable fish innovation.

The Aquarium, along with Food Plymouth, will be driving the project to obtain pledges from local schools, colleges, universities, hospitals and businesses to achieve the five gold-star standard.

Paul Cox, Director of Conservation and Communication at the National Marine Aquarium said: “The Blue City award is an excellent achievement for the city and credit must go to the restaurants that are demonstrating such good practice.

"This is a real feather in the cap for the City and hopefully we can build on this to lead the country in the Sustainable Fish City campaign.

"Through these projects we hope we can start to reconnect the City with the seafood that it eats and with the local fishing industry that supplies excellent, responsibly caught seafood. ”

Tim Glover, co-founder and Managing Director of Fish2fork, said: “This is a marvelous achievement by Plymouth. The city is to be congratulated for its attitude to marine sustainability.

"In particular, we are delighted at the way in which Plymouth’s restaurants have risen to the challenge of seafood sustainability.

"Many of them have made changes to menus and provided more information to customers about the origins of their seafood in order for the city to win the award.

“We hope that after our engagement with the restaurants that they have a better understanding of how to ensure their menus feature seafood from sustainable sources – we appreciate it’s not always easy but it is important if healthy supplies of fish and shellfish are to be maintained over the coming decades, especially with pressure on the food chain rising with the human population expanding globally.

"Fish2fork would also like to thank the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth University and Destination Plymouth for their continued support and their efforts on marine sustainability.”

Plymouth City Council’s Leader, Tudor Evans, said: “This is fantastic! We are the very first city in the UK to have won this award.

"We are Britain’s Ocean City and have many fishermen operating from our harbour, so it’s very fitting to say that we have lots of fish and it’s sustainably sourced! Working with the National Marine Aquarium and Destination Plymouth we are proud to say we are a Blue City and will work hard to push forward to the Sustainable Fish Campaign.”