An Irish Anglers World

Hugh’s Fish Fight, Campaign Update, August 2011

Celebrity chef  Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall had the passion, knowledge, and wherewithal to take on and expose the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for what it is, a complete and utter failure. His campaign focused on a moral dilemma of immense proportions facing the commercial fishing sector, that of discards. In doing so HFW has opened the door to other key fundamentals within the commercial fishing industry and how it operates worldwide which need to be changed or modified.

Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall poses outside the EU parliament buildings in Brussels with EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki.

The reformed CFP will be debated over the next 18 months before it is ratified, discards as a result of “The Fish Fight Campaign” are on the agenda, so well done Hugh. However as is evident by the  present Faroese/Iceland/Norway/EU standoff regarding the north east Atlantic mackerel stock, who lays claim to it and how it is carved up, we do not seem to have learned much with fish still the piggies in the middle.

On the positive side public awareness has been increased and this education will be ongoing which has to benefit fish stocks and the environment. The fight has to continue though by branching out but still remaining focused and address such issues as fleet reductions in conjunction with effort, introducing seabed (environmentally) friendly fishing methods, promoting artisanal fishing (small is beautiful), and establishing marine protection areas.

There is no point, and it is too simplistic, to change consumption towards lesser known species of fish unless we put in place sustainable industry recognised codes of conduct regarding the future exploitation and management of fish stocks. The industry to date has marketed new species to consumers as more commonly accepted fish have become economically extinct to the detriment of the marine environment, orange roughy being an example. This is called fishing down the food chain.

Hugh in his original and follow up programme promotes lesser known species, and he is correct, but this policy must be balanced with the wider reforms mentioned above.

To view the Channel 4 Fish Fight update click on:

Related topic: Save Our Mackerel.

Related topic: Back to the Future, Restoring Ireland’s Marine Biodiversity.