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Thursday, 13 January 2011

Hugh's Fish Fight - Why I've taken the bait

 Written by Vicki Thurley
Tonight I've spent my evening watching a programme on fish. I love my food programmes; Come Dine With Me, Ready Steady Cook, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Jamie At Home, you name it, I've probably watched it. However, tonight I embraced a programme called Hugh's Fish Fight, which you can watch on Channel 4 most nights, and follows the battle Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (From "River Cottage") is going through against the discarding of fish that fishermen on a daily basis have to throw back into the sea, already dead, because they simply can't take it back to shore as they aren't allowed over their quota.

The problem is, the fishermen cannot control what species are being caught in there nets, and consequently have to chuck back the fish they don't need. As the official website for the campaign says, "The EU estimates that in the North Sea, discards are between 40% and 60% of the total catch. Many of these fish are species that have fallen out of fashion: we can help to prevent their discard just by rediscovering our taste for them."

So, the solution? The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is being reformed for 2012, and Hugh is trying to make sure politicians take this campaign into account as one of their top priorities. Through the episodes, Hugh has so far tried to replace cod in fish and chip shops with mackerel, which has been a hard task because the public know what they want and won't change without a little nudge. Despite this, he has been successful in a few shops, and he has also interviewed Tesco about their packaging for tuna, as the way it advertises how the fish are caught is misleading, so the packaging needs to be replaced. They should be taking action soon, but in the meantime, you can sign up (it literally takes a second) to an online petition  which adds your name to a letter that will be sent to Commissionor Maria Damanaki, members of the Common Fisheries Policy Reform Group, and all MEPs. They want 250,000 signatures by summer, they already have 218,000 tonight and counting.

The campaign is being supported by celebrities such as Ricky Gervais, Dermot O'Leary, Harry Hill, Martin Clunes, and fellow chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. It literally takes a second to submit your name and all they want is your name and e-mail. If you're interested or would like to read more, visit the website here http://www.fishfight.net/. You can also follow them on twitter @hughsfishfight.

Thanks for listening!

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