Are you one of the 500,000 plus people that have been joined Hugh’s Fish Fight? Do you also think it’s wrong that perfectly good fish are being chucked back into the ocean due to EU quotas?
I’m a bit of a ‘greeny’ anyway, so when I caught one of Hugh’s episodes on Channel 4 last week, I signed up to the petition to change Europe’s fisheries policy straightaway.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wants to end the practise of ‘discarding’, where fishermen throw perfectly good fish overboard (mostly dead) just because an EU ‘quota’ says that they’re supposed to be catching another type of fish.
An average of 7.3 million tonnes of fish are discarded each year simply because they’re unwittingly caught in fisherman’s nets.
I was impressed that when I visited the programme’s website thousands of other people felt the same – the website had crashed because of the huge number of people who had been inspired to support the campaign.
I was even more impressed when supporters grew from the thousands to the hundreds of thousands in just a few days. But what really blew me away, and made me realise Hugh was creating real change, was when friends (who usually mock me for my obsessive recycling habits) were talking about sustainable fish in the pub over the weekend.
Plus, in the days since the series aired sales of the ‘alternative’ fish celebrated by Hugh have soared. It seems that, overnight, consumers are suddenly aware of the impact their preference for salmon, tuna and cod has on both fish stocks and the environment. It’s great that people are realising the potential of coley, pollack and sprats, and are more aware of the environmental benefits of buying organic salmon.
Fish stocks still need protection
The only worry is if sales of sustainable fish continue to grow, while our appetite for non-sustainable options remain the same (i.e. we eat more and more fish), we could face the same situation as we saw with Atlantic Salmon in the 1970s – there’d be no fish left to catch!
So while the review of Europe’s fisheries policy should throw out landing quotas and ban discards, it must also protect fish stocks. We need regulations that help the recovery of species in decline, by controlling which species can be caught and when.
So if you want to see fish stay on the menu of your favourite restaurant, join the Fish Fight today and take this op-perch-tuna-ty to express yourself in the comments below.