Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, a man in danger of becoming a national treasure, is thumping his tub once again. This time, it’s the issue of fish that has got him riled, more specifically the Common Fisheries Policy.
The policy is meant to solve the problem of over-fishing, but an investigation by Hugh suggests that the policy just isn’t fit for purpose.
The problem is that the policy merely limits the number of fish landed, not the number of fish caught. This means a huge number of fish are thrown back into the water, dead or dying, so that fishing boats don’t arrive back at harbour with more fish than they’re allowed. Studying one particular boat, Hugh estimated that a day’s fishing involved the wastage of enough fish to feed 2000 people.
Many of the fish thrown back in the water are the kind that don’t usually end up on the fish counter. Sprats, capelin, coley and gurnard all end up dead in the sea, despite being perfectly tasty.
The current policy means a boat can fish up to a certain threshold of a particular type. They can then swap to a different variety, but if they catch anything from the previous variety, they have to throw them out. Hugh said, “It is completely mad that 50 per cent of fish that are caught every year are thrown back.”
Jamie Oliver joins in
The campaign is to be included in the Channel 4′s next Food Fight series (you may remember the last one featuring Hugh, Jamie, Gordon and other chefs we like to call by their first names) and Mr F-W recently roped his mate Jamie Oliver into standing outside Parliament cooking fish in protest against the current wasteful policy. You can read more about that on This is Kent, or wait for the TV show, which will be appearing in January 2011.
Image [Michael Malz]
If you’ve been watching any of the Fish Fight series on Channel 4, you’re probably feeling quite riled up about the whole thing.
You can sign the petition over on the Fish Fight website and if you’ve missed out on the series, check out this video below, which sums up a lot of the issues Hugh covers.
And if you’re feeling in a protesting mood, you can also sign the petition against intensive dairy farming (which may soon appear in the UK if we don’t stop it) and Hugh’s last battle against battery hens.