The fight against fish waste hits the region

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BUSINESSES and residents around the Advertiser and Review region are doing their bit to help in the campaign against fish waste.

Last week, celebrity chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, launched his Fish Fight on Channel 4, in a bid to raise awareness about the amount of fish which is wasted through ‘discard’ and to get people to eat a wider variety of fish.

The series of three programmes saw Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall spend time on a fishing trawler and witness first hand cod, which was caught over European set quotas, dumped back in the sea, dead.

He has also launched a bid to get more fish and chip shops across the country to put ‘mackerel in a bun’ on the menu to encourage people to eat less cod and vary the types of fish they eat.

A map, showing which fish and chip shops have joined the bid and which ones are being lobbied by their customers, has been set up on a dedicated website.

Speaking to the Advertiser this week, Zakima Goldsmith, who owns Halibut fishmonger, traiteur and restaurant in Cornwall’s Place in Buckingham, said there were more sustainable places to source cod from including Iceland.

She added: “There is no question that people need to expand their options, especially our British palates. On the continent, they have a more diverse view of what they consider to be palatable with regards to fish. That is something we can all do - to eat more diversely and be responsible about where we and our suppliers purchase our fish from.”

Mrs Goldsmith said she also tried to encourage customers to her shop to stay away from endangered or out of season species and felt it was not a good idea to change the emphasis from one species to another.

She said: “Regarding the move away from cod to mackerel, it is important to understand that the solution to responsible practices as a supplier and consumer is diversity. Why would you remove the stress on one species and dump it on another single species? Mackerel would then go the same way as cod. In fact, it can be argued that Britain may be on the brink of a 1970s-style ‘cod war,’ with mackerel being the bounty, as tensions between Iceland and the UK mount regarding mackerel distribution in the north east Atlantic and the North Sea.

“Prior to 2006, Iceland landed practically no mackerel, but now its quota has tripled. We were personally affected by this conflict late last year as demand outstripped supply, the price for mackerel skyrocketed and supply was sporadic. It would be RIP to the beloved mackerel if we solely focus our energy on the plight to get just mackerel in a bun.”

She added discards should be banned altogether with everything caught available to eat.

Great Horwood resident James Darke, who enjoys fishing, said he was alarmed about the amount of fish that had been dumped in the sea.

He said: “I spend any spare cash I have to go down to the coast to go fishing with a rod and line.

“The government at one point were trying to find out how many fish are caught by rod and line and putting licences on rods which was ridiculous when you see 20lb cod discarded into the sea as waste.”

More information on the fish fight can be found at www.fishfight.net.

Are you doing anything to join the Fish Fight? If so, we would love to hear from your. Our contact details are on page 6.