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Seafish calls for Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall's Fish Fight supporters to view the facts

18 February 2013 by
Seafish calls for Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall's Fish Fight supporters to view the facts

Seafish is urging caution to supporters of Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall's TV series Fish Fight and asking them to fully inform themselves of the facts before jumping on the latest celebrity led bandwagon.

The first episode shown last week on Channel 4, focused on the issues around Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), the programme then called on viewers to march on Parliament on the 25 February and demand the implementation of more MPAs from the Government.

In Seafish's view, the programme failed to present a complete picture of the lengths the modern day fishing industry has gone to in order to protect the marine environment.

Mark Gray, head of responsible sourcing for Seafish, said: "Seafish supports the concept of MPAs, which can play an important role in protecting the biodiversity and productivity of our seas.

"However, MPAs need to have clear and measurable objectives, as MPAs designed for fisheries management may be quite different to those designed to protect marine biodiversity. When badly designed, areas closed to fishing can have unforeseen negative effects by displacing fishing activity elsewhere.

"Fishermen have been working alongside Governments, scientists and environmental groups for years in order to establish Marine Conservation Zones of varying purposes and continue to do so.

"It is important therefore that people understand that MPAs must have a proper scientific based approach to their set-up before they can be implemented otherwise we could threaten the economic and social prosperity of the UK without making any significant strides in environmental improvement."

The facts behind scallop dredging must also be understood continued Gray: "Over 98% of UK landed scallops are caught by vessels using towed fishing gear. There is a misconception that scallop fishermen tow dredges or trawls over every bit of the sea bed. In fact, fishermen know where the species are found and make rational decisions about where to go scallop fishing.

"Seafish continues to work closely with UK scallop fishermen. Through research and co-operative projects, we support the adoption of techniques and technologies to minimize environmental impacts. Through the adoption of best practice, we believe that ultimately it should be possible to ensure a responsible and sustainable future for this valuable industry."

Seafish, which worked with producers Keo Films to provide footage and advice during the making of the series, was disappointed but not surprised at the content of the programme.

Seafish has produced a pack of information for followers of Fish Fight to look through and arm themselves fully with the facts on MPAs, dredging and other important areas likely to be highlighted by the programme in an effort to bring some semblance of balance to a debate.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Fish Fight prompts advance response from Seafish >>

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