Image credit: Fish Fight
With 639,581 supporters so far, and an early commitment from a major supermarket to switch to line-caught tuna, the Fish Fight campaign for sustainable fishing is going from strength-to-strength. In fact, the group's demand to stop the practice of EU fisheries throwing away nearly half their catch has just gotten some very high level support. Fishing Policy Reform Gets Major Support
According to Business Green, the EU Commissioner for fisheries Maria Damanaki has gone on record to say that policies mandating discards must change. This position was also backed up by two other major supermarkets, Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer, issuing a joint statement to also demand an end to discards.
Sustainable Fishing Solutions Still Debatable
Of course, just because folks are now saying that discards must stop does not mean we have a clear path to an alternative. The original idea of quotas was, after all, to reduce the amount of fish being caught, not force fishermen to throw away dead fish. With some critics claiming that Fish Fight lacks clear goals, there are also concerns that proposed solutions may bring about their own sets of unintended consequences—as Business Green explains:
"Supporters of the new policy claim that limiting the amount of time at sea is better for areas where there are mixed fisheries that tend to have the highest level of discards. However, there are concerns that time limits could simply encourage fishermen to switch to larger trawlers, while there are fears within the industry the move could affect incomes as fishermen will be stopped from discarding low-value species."
Fish Fight Campaign Keeps Decision Makers Honest
Whatever the solutions turn out to be, it's certainly true to say that public attention on this issue is both timely and crucial. The first step is to raise awareness, the second is to push for change, and the third is to hold decision makers accountable for results. Only time will tell how the second and third parts of this puzzle play out, but there's no doubt that there are more eyeballs on the issue than ever before.