The Chinese calendar may say 2011 is the year of the rabbit, but we just don’t believe it… at hiSbe we reckon it’s officially the year of the fish. We haven’t seen this much fuss about fish since Finding Nemo!
Yes, people have been campaigning for fish… first there was the “fish fighting”, then there was the “sharking about” in public.
So what’s going on?
Well, marine life tends to take a beating from human activity. In short, we take more from the sea than we should and we treat it like a rubbish dump for sewers, farmland and street litter (for more information about marine issues in Britain and the work going on to tackle them, have a look at the Marine Conservation Society.)
But these new campaigns are specifically about the way we fish; the types of fish we catch and the methods we use to catch them. In Europe we are over-fishing our seas at an unsustainable rate, beyond safe biological limits and we neglect to protect marine ecosystems and fish stocks responsibly. When the global fishing industry puts profit before everything else it promotes wasteful, inefficient and destructive fishing practises in order to make big fishing operations as cheap as possible.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his team showed us that, in a world where fish stocks are running out, half of all fish caught in the North Sea are thrown back dead.
Also in January, tuna started fighting back! Greenpeace launched their campaign against tuna producers John West, Prince’s and the major supermarkets, who all sell their own-label tuna.
Greenpeace are going after a very destructive form of tuna fishing that uses fish-aggregating devices. FADs are man-made rafts that attract tuna and other species like sharks and turtles, which all get scooped up together in nets and killed along with the tuna.
It’s a senseless waste.
What’s brilliant about these campaigns is they have got results and are changing the way things are done in the fishing industry. They are forcing the supermarkets and brands to take responsibility for what they do and really start to consider the sustainability of the fish supply… and it’s all through people power.
These campaigns have us signing petitions to shape public policy, pressurising supermarkets to act ethically, boycotting badly behaved brands and choosing more sustainable types of fish for dinner. They are using public support to change the fishing industry for the better and making every voice count.
Hugh’s Fish Fight is successfully changing Britain’s eating habits and rallying political support, with 234 MPs now signed up to support a cross-party reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Greenpeace got John West to change their tuna sourcing policy, after they received 48,000+ emails from people, as this article in the Independent reported in March. Similarly, complaints from customers and embarrassing headlines have now forced all the major British supermarkets to commit to changing the way they source tuna.
It just shows you, when enough of us show we care about something, we can make a difference… look at this picture: Hugh’s Fish Fight hoped to get 250,000 signatures on their petition to reform fishing policy. This counter shows how many they have right now :-)
Both of these campaigns continue to need our support because they have more goals in sight. Remember, your voice counts!