Hugh’s Fish Fight Continues…
Since Fight Fight series one, TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has returned to remind everyone what we are fighting for. His inspirational campaign was a success, and European international fishing law was changed. We are now seeing improvements in fish populations, for example in North Sea cod, as net sizes have been changed.
However, unsustainable overfishing, by-catch, and discards are still a huge problem all around the world.
In Thailand, the severely trawled seas are producing little quantities of fish suitable for human consumption. Instead, what’s left is ground up to feed fish farms in Thailand and abroad. Fish meal companies, such as CP Foods, do not list the actual percentage fish included in the fish meal. When confronted by Whittingstall, CP Foods stated they have indeed begun a dialogue within the organisation since the last series, and are trying to address the problems in their ‘CP Fish Fight Ten Point Plan’. Though the listed comments offer great potential, they do rely heavily on government initiatives in order to progress.
Hugh’s Last Stand also addresses the problem of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the UK. A network of MPAs would ensure that fish stocks are protected for future generations, as populations would be left to grow. Since Richard Benyon announced in 2010 that he would endeavour to install an ‘ecologically coherent network that people can feel proud about‘, the government only considered 31 out of 127 recognised sites. In October 2013, MP George Eustice stepped in to replace Benyon as our fisheries minister, and the conservative permitted a further 27 zones to be considered for protection. Still a far cry from the 127 needed.
Hugh’s Last Stand confronted the problem of krill overfishing in the 200 miles of ocean surrounding South Georgia and the South Sandwich islands, controlled by the British commonwealth. Hundreds of animals depend on krill for survival, a tiny crustacean at the bottom of the food chain. This high protein, abundant animal is now suffering from the threats of human consumption, fed to farmed salmon, included in pet food, and now being marketed as a health supplement. Annually, £3 million is generated to protect this part of the world, controversially through the purchase of fishing licenses. Is there an alternative source of funding?Drawing to a close, Whittingstall discussed the recent problem of tuna labelling. Since TESCO promised an honest and transparent labelling system following the horsemeat scandal last year, Whittingstall contradicts that stocking tuna brand ‘Oriental Pacific’ goes against this. The brand uses Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs), which cause harm to marine mammals including rays and sharks, but continue to be ‘dolphin friendly’ – making it acceptable to include this on the label, thus effectively ‘greenwashing‘ consumers to buy this tuna at the cheapest price of just 41p. Greenpeace is on the case, and is demanding consumers to be on the look out for this brand.
The Fish Fight website now displays links to contacts and emails of those working in large supermarkets, who you might need to speak with to demand a future for our fish.
Good ole’ Hugh.