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Consumers show support for sustainable fishing

10 September 2009
Consumers show support for sustainable fishing

Three quarters of the public would pay more for sustainably-sourced fish, research has found.

The TNS survey, by Natural England, accompanies its new report, Sea Fisheries: Steps to Sustainability, which highlights the ways in which fishing practices could be adapted to secure more sustainable fish stocks in English waters.

Data from the survey revealed overriding public support for encouraging fishing practices that help protect the marine environment, with the majority of respondents calling for action to address overfishing and 80% saying a healthy marine environment was important to them.

Dr Helen Phillips, chief executive of Natural England, said: "Overfishing is one of the most significant environmental issues we face and it is clear from our research that the public are increasingly aware of the problems - and are willing to help address them."

More than 60% of those questioned said they believe action needs to be taken to address depleting fish stocks caused by over-fishing, while 72% said they would be prepared to pay more for sustainably sourced, environmentally secure fish.

In addition to highlighting the benefits of changes in fishing methods, fishing equipment and certification schemes, the ‘Sea Fisheries: Steps to Sustainability' report calls for radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Phillips added: "The CFP needs an urgent overhaul if is it to be fit for the purpose of providing sustainable fish stocks for the future. We need a radical change of approach to avoid a permanent collapse of marine life around our shores and the end of the livelihoods that, for decades, have depended on it.

"We can avoid the bleak future that England's fishing industry currently faces, but we have to accept that far-reaching changes - from policy through to purchase - are now needed."

The survey comes just days after Europe united on a supportive stance for a ban on bluefin tuna.

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By Rosie Birkett

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