Fish Fighting for the oceans! But the battle continues

Posted by simon clydesdale — 8 August 2011 at 9:39pm - Comments

Tonight Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall broadcast Hugh’s Fish Fight: The Battle Continues, his follow-up to the influential BAFTA-winning Fish Fight series broadcast in January. Hugh and his team have clearly been very busy over the last 6 months, and not just in securing Hugh a swish new haircut.

Ask David Cameron to support a strong reform to Europe's Common Fisheries Policy now!

For starters they’ve helped pile the pressure on the supermarkets and tinned tuna brands that were still addicted to destructive fishing using indiscriminate deathtraps known as FADs (Fish Aggregation Devices).

Hugh has a history with Tesco, and they were the first to move just as Greenpeace launched its tinned tuna league table in January.

Sainsbury’s, M&S and Waitrose were already doing the right thing with their own-brand tuna, but Tesco’s shift was the first of many. Co-op, Princes, Asda, Morrisons and finally John West made it a clean sweep for the tinned tuna campaign, getting commitments from all these companies to dump FADs and switch to pole and line and FAD-free purse seine fishing.

These changes can reduce bycatch by up to 90%, giving the juvenile and threatened tuna, as well as sharks, rays and even turtles a fighting chance. These changes have come about with thousands of emails, phone calls and more, that have led to the commitments that will make the UK the world's most sustainable tuna market.

Both Hugh and Greenpeace are only too aware that the Fish Fight is likely to be a long one. The tuna campaign can pat itself on the back right now for having achieved an almost unprecedented industry-wide shift in the UK, the world’s second-biggest tined tuna market.

But the hard work on tuna isn’t over by a long chalk. Greenpeace is committed to making sure that we see the shift to sustainable fishing methods that so many companies have pledged. It’s change in the water that counts so we’ll be focusing now on making sure that sustainable change is delivered. Our plans for that will be coming your way soon.

Positive change is the foundation stone of Greenpeace campaigning, and Hugh’s Fish Fight has built up huge momentum in favour of radical change in the Commons Fisheries Policy. Change however, will not come from tackling discards alone, there must be a fundamental shift towards putting the marine environment and the recovery of fish stocks first.

Over the next 18 months, all member states in Europe will negotiate a new CFP package that will determine how our seas are managed for the next 10 years. With the revelation that Europe’s fish stocks are 72% overfished, it is clear that the current CFP has failed in its objective to ensure sustainable fishing.

Both Hugh’s Fish Fight on discards and the Greenpeace campaign for a sustainable CFP have tough times ahead. The challenge will be to make Europe’s nations stand up to countries like Spain – whose fishing industry is arguably the most environmentally destructive, as well as politically influential through its powerful lobby.

The Spanish fishing industry will be doing everything it can to keep the status quo in the CFP, which has given us such badly exploited fish stocks in the first place, and we, along side Fish Fight will be keeping the pressure up. Watch this space...

Ask Cameron to support strong reform to Europe's Common Fisheries Policy now!

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