So its taken a couple of celebrity chefs and an evening slot on C4 to achieve something Charles Clover’s End of the Line failed to do – ‘Gain support’ I am unsure as to whether Hugh’s fish fight campaign will change the ways of those select unscrupulous fisherman that continue to discard everything they catch until their bow is full of prime sized species; I am unsure as to whether the EU will take on board the significance and act on half a million signatures over the best available scientific advice that they already use; I am unsure that the biggest and most destructive of fish catching nations will be deterred from targeting endangered species on a call from a man that lives in a River Cottage. However, what I am sure of is that the tide is turning. Supermarkets have responded immediately to a call of change from their clientele and independents are offering more diverse species otherwise thought inedible. We can only all hope that if the demand drops from the end user followed by the retail sector then the fishermen will target alternative species. Of course whilst Europe still pays a premium the species will continue to be a target, but one small step at a time. Many said the management programs for North Sea and Eastern Canadian Cod stocks were too little too late. This has shown not to be the case and with time and careful management species will recover, its what they do best.
So what can we do?
Well keep this bandwagon running. Be the one that reads the correct material and I don’t mean newspaper articles, but books or websites from genuine sources. Take time to understand why you are changing your eating habits and don’t just do it because Hugh told you too. The fish and fisheries world is very complex but also fascinating. The more you understand the better you will feel when you choose your dinner. Don’t expect good advice from a supermarket as it will generally be littered with inaccuracies and don’t walk into an independent fishmonger expecting a) him to know absolutely everything and b) him to be absolutely honest. Unfortunately there are people out there, like in any business, who will say exactly what you want to hear. Become friends with your fishmonger it’s the best way.
So to help you understand the complexities of this subject I have listed some extra reading below. Many are anti fishing so will give extreme views and apply exaggerated scare mongering but that is the only method that drums the message across. If you find more useful sites please don’t hesitate to post them in the comments.
Happy reading and remember to make the ethical choice :-)
Hugh’s Fish Fight Homepage – have you signed up?
MCS – MARINE Conservation Society Homepage
Buying Guide – direct link to the FISHONLINE ethical buying chart
FISHONLINE - identify which fish are from well managed sources
Seasons Guide – You know what to eat but do you know when?
Good Catch - designed to help you make responsible decisions about which seafood to put on your menu
Red List – The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Line caught – Website dedicated to the line catch Cornish industry
The End of The line Homepage
Fish2Fork – Follow up to The End of The Line pinpointing fish selling practices of top restaurants