What is Hugh’s Fish Fight?

TV chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall 3 part series on the sustainability of fish ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight‘ has just finished screening on Channel 4.  It deals with some of the issues surrounding the sustainability of seafood, looking particularly at Britain’s top 3 – cod, salmon and tuna that make up 50% of all fish consumed.

Here are some of the programme’s most interesting facts:

* Around half of fish caught in the North Sea is thrown back dead. The EU estimates that between 40-60% of fish are thrown back dead due to discard.  Fishermen work to a quota system under the Common Fisheries Policy.  This means that each boat has a set annual quota for the quantity and type of species they can catch.  However nets are indiscriminate in what they catch so it is impossible for boats choose what they catch.  By the time fish are brought onboard and processed most are dead, so excess to the quotas must be thrown back into the sea.  A huge waste of fish, money and the fishermen’s time.

* Watch out for tuna tin labels. Chances are if the tin doesn’t say the tuna were caught using pole and line then they were caught using a large net that easily also catches other marine species including sharks, dolphins and turtles.

* A Mackerel fish supper is a tasty alternative.  Traditional fish & chips relies on the depleted cod or haddock but mackerel could be a suitable alternative.  Mackerel still provides the oily white fish taste that goes so well with batter but mackerel are found in abundance around our coast.

Hugh is calling for there to be changes to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, the quota framework that will be reformed in 2012.  Find out how you can support the campaign here.

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