Our Sustainability Statement
Hamiltons Fish is a family-owned business that cares about our planet and its future.
At Hamiltons Fish, we are committed to sustainability and strive to minimise our environmental impact while delivering high-quality seafood to our customers. We believe that sustainable practices are not only important for the health of our planet, but also for the long-term success of our business. That's why we have implemented a number of initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint, conserve resources, and promote social responsibility in our operations. In this sustainability statement, we will outline our goals, policies, and actions related to sustainability, and share our progress towards achieving these objectives.
Sustainably Caught Fish
This section of our sustainability statement pertains to fish sourcing and emphasises our commitment to responsible and sustainable fishing practices. We recognise that the manner and location of fish catching are of utmost importance, and therefore, the majority of the fish we sell comes through Brixham Fish market. This market enables us to source fish from local inshore day boat fishing fleets, which not only ensures higher quality fish but also has a reduced impact on fish stocks and the seabed.
In contrast to the larger factory ships, the smaller day boats provide a more sustainable approach to fishing. These boats are typically operated by a single fisherman and catch only a small quantity of fish each day. This means that the impact on the environment is minimal, and the fishermen can focus on catching specific species, reducing discards or the need to throw back dead fish.
Brixham has a rich fishing heritage dating back to the 14th century. The local fishing industry works closely with scientists and responsible fishing organisations to adapt fishing methods and the nets they use, to reduce the impact on the seabed and better target the fish they are trying to catch. We also strive to buy line caught fish whenever possible, as this has no negative impact on the seabed and reduces bycatch, allowing fishermen to catch and release any live fish they do not want.
In addition to our commitment to local and responsible sourcing, we are proud to offer MSC certified Hake and farmed Seabass and Seabream from ASC approved farms. The MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certification ensures that the fishery meets rigorous standards for sustainable fishing practices, including the health and size of fish stocks, the impact on the environment, and effective management of the fishery. The ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) certification similarly guarantees that farmed fish are produced responsibly, with minimal impact on the environment and local communities.
Saying no to Polystyrene
As an online fishmonger, we take pride in leading the way towards more sustainable and eco-friendly practices. We have recently made a significant change in our operations by switching from polystyrene boxes to fully recyclable insulated delivery boxes made from outer cardboard and an interior liner composed of sheep's wool. This choice was driven by our commitment to reducing our environmental impact and offering our customers an eco-friendly alternative for the delivery of fresh fish.
Sheep's wool is a sustainable, biodegradable, and abundant material with unique natural properties. It works exceptionally well as a protective layer in packaging and has outstanding insulating properties, making it a natural and smart choice for our delivery boxes. It is also easy to recycle and can be repurposed in a variety of ways, such as filling cushions or lining hanging baskets, and even mixed into compost.
The transition to eco-friendly packaging and plastic-free alternatives is a significant step towards improving our delivery process and reducing our environmental impact. As of 2020, we no longer buy any polystyrene boxes or use them for delivering fish to our customers. This change has resulted in a considerable reduction in the amount of packaging waste we produce at Hamiltons Fish over the last few years.
We are proud to be one of the first online fishmongers in the UK to embrace such eco-friendly practices and hope that other businesses will follow our lead in adopting sustainable solutions.
Food waste is a major issue
At Hamiltons Fish, we recognise the global issue of food waste and the negative impact it has on the environment. It is estimated that approximately 17% of all food produced worldwide is wasted, which is a concerning figure.
To reduce food waste, we have implemented several measures, including purchasing fish to order, which minimises the likelihood of excess fish that may need to be discarded. Additionally, we have a comprehensive food waste recycling program in place, where all the food waste generated during the filleting and preparation of your fish, such as fish bones, is recycled.
To carry out this program, we have partnered with Andigestion, a reputable company that utilises anaerobic digestion to generate electricity from food waste. Furthermore, the by-product of this process is used as a fertiliser that enriches the soil, ensuring vital nutrients are returned to the ground. By implementing these measures, we ensure that none of our food waste ends up in landfills, and we play our part in reducing the environmental impact of food waste.
Single use plastic
In our unwavering dedication to sustainability, we acknowledge the profound environmental impact associated with single-use plastics. As responsible stewards of the planet, we continuously seek innovative ways to mitigate this impact.
One significant step we've taken is to cease the use of single-use plastic carrier bags, by doing so, we have reduced our annual usage of approximately 50,000 bags. In lieu of single-use plastic, we've transitioned to eco-conscious paper bags, a more sustainable alternative. Additionally, we actively encourage our valued customers to bring their reusable bags or containers when visiting our pop-up fishmonger stalls.
We made the decision to stop offering single portion packaging on our website in 2023 as part of our broader effort to reduce our single-use plastic consumption. Following a consultation with some customers, other people in the industry and packaging suppliers, we felt it would be beneficial to make this change and immediately saw a reduction in the amount of vacuum bags being used based on the same quantity of fish sold.
Another step we've taken is to change the vacuum bags that we were using. Rather than thicker, conventional bags at 90 microns, we've transitioned to a slightly thinner vacuum bag at 65 microns. This eco-conscious shift has resulted in the same high-quality packaging while significantly reducing our plastic usage.
We believe that small changes can have a big impact, and we are committed to doing our part to create a more sustainable future.
Eating farmed salmon can be a contentious issue, which is why at Hamiltons Fish, we have taken a careful look at different companies that farm salmon. After much consideration, we have chosen to source all our salmon from Loch Duart, an industry leader in sustainable, low-impact farming based in the Scottish Highlands.
Loch Duart uses fish such as the Ballan Wrasse as a cleaner fish, which plays a vital role in keeping the salmon free from parasites such as sea lice in a natural way. They also avoid using antibiotics, hormones, and antifoulants on any of their farms. The feed used for the salmon is specially formulated to replicate their natural diet as closely as possible, and they use a lower-than-average stock density to give the fish more room to swim freely from hatchery to sea.
We understand that there are significant challenges facing food production globally, and we believe that Loch Duart is providing the highest quality farmed salmon that takes the health of the fish and the impact on the environment seriously. They are continually innovating and finding new ways to improve, which is essential to us.
It's also important to note that we do not use wild salmon in any of our products. Wild salmon populations are often overfished, leading to concerns about the long-term sustainability of the species. By using farmed salmon from a sustainable and ethical source, we can ensure the quality and safety of our products while supporting responsible and eco-friendly food production practices.
At Hamiltons Fish, we understand the importance of reducing our environmental impact and have taken steps to decrease our paper usage by over 70%. To achieve this, we have eliminated the use of A4 integrated labels for printing our invoices. Previously, due to the label taking up nearly a quarter of the page, we often had to use two pieces of paper per order, resulting in inefficiency and wastage.
Furthermore, we are constantly striving to further reduce our paper usage. From October 1st, 2022, all of our invoices and packing notes will be printed on A5 paper, halving our annual paper use. We believe that even small changes like this can make a significant impact in our efforts towards sustainability.
We recognise that the fishing industry still faces significant challenges and that we are not perfect. Despite our efforts, there are still issues such as overfishing, bycatch, and habitat destruction that need to be addressed. However, we are committed to doing our part to improve where we can. This includes adopting sustainable fishing practices, reducing waste and carbon emissions, and working with industry partners and local communities to promote responsible fishing practices. By working together, we believe we can make a positive impact and help preserve our oceans for future generations.