Saturday January 22nd, 2011
I am sure that many of you will already be aware of the latest TV phenomena that is Channel 4’s Fish Fight season in which four top British chefs have banded together in a bid to change our eating habits and help sustain the oceans’ dwindling fish reserves. Gordon Ramsey has had considerable success at initiating a well needed backlash against the horrifically decadent consumption of shark fin soup, the market for which has seen the shark population plummet 90% in only ten years. Jamie Oliver has introduced us to some truly mouth-watering and simple fish suppers using alternative sea-foods to the big three – Cod, Salmon and Tuna. Heston Blumenthal cooked and incredibly bonkers fishy feast, made from obscure yet delicious fish, for a group of celebrity diners, all of whom back the Fish Fight.
All in all the campaign has drawn massive public attention to a potential disaster that will destroy the largest supply of food we have on earth and cause untold ecological change. The impact of the campaign so far is unquestionable with all the top food stores reporting a massive upturn in the sale of fish – mainly previously unpopular types. And it has only just begun. Here are some statistics:.
In Sainsbury's, sales of pole and line caught tinned tuna are up 17 per cent compared with last week
• Sainsbury's also recorded a 167 per cent increase in pollock
• Tesco has seen an increase of 25 and 45 per cent for fresh sardines, coley, brown crab, sprats and whiting
• Waitrose has seen overall seafood sales rise by 15 per cent
• Marks & Spencer had its biggest ever week for fish, with sales up 25 per cent on the same time last year
Probably the biggest impact of the series came from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s campaign to stop ‘discard’. An obscene 50% of all fish caught at sea are thrown back, dead, into the water because of EU legislation that bans the sale of fish considered to be under threat – that’s mainly cod to you and me. It’s shear wasteful madness. Discriminate fishing is impossible. All fish live together. Throwing half you catch back means fishing for twice as long and catching twice as many fish as necessary (half of which are not even going to be eaten). Add to this the extra wages and fuel and it is plain common sense that it is nonsense.
Hugh started a on line petition to coincide with his part of the campaign. He was hoping for 250,000 signatures by summer this year. At the time of writing there are 585,000 plus. By supporting this campaign, your name will be added to a letter to be sent to Commissioner Maria Damanaki, members of the Common Fisheries Policy Reform Group, and all MEPs.
So don’t hang around. Sign up today and start spreading the word immediately.
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