Doing your bit, August 2011

Fish Fight logo
Hugh's Fish Fight

Something has been gnawing at me for awhile now. How to make people more aware of fundamental issues like the environment, conservation and related issues. There are certainly many organisations doing great work out there and also do a great job of getting the message out, but the reality is that the vast majority of people still do not stop and take the time to find out about what is going. To just read a blog post, to think about the impact of which tin of tuna or the piece of clothing they buy.

Quite often, change can happen just be getting enough people aware of what is going on. Hugh’s Fish Fight is a great example of this. Once people heard about it, saw what was happening, there was a large enough shift in thinking for corporates and governments, they stopped, took notice and importantly changed for the good. (Read, Fish Fight: Impact on you and Impact on Leaders)

This is a fundamental point I feel. It is rare to see a corporate or government “doing the right thing” by the world and all it’s wonderfully diverse creatures and ecosystems on their own initiative. They tend to only act once enough people are aware of the issues and start to make enough noise about it. Read, profits affected for the corporate, votes for the politicians. This is not fair I realise, on the many people making positive and good choices for the world we live in. I respect the hard work you doing, but unfortunately this is not the norm, and I’m talking about those people that make conscious decisions that negatively affect the world we living in.

Over the past few weeks a plan has slowly been forming in my mind as to how I might achieve this “sharing of information”. The answer is simple really, start with who you know and make it easy for people to get involved. So my first step in this process will be to write a regular blog post that I’ll share on this site and with my personal social circle of friends and family. The post will aim to summarise some of the key points that they should pay attention too. The goal is to make it very easy for them to “catchup” on these topics without having to gather news from all the various sources out there. For now, these will focus on issues close to my heart. I encourage you to share this or your own “summary” of topics close to you, with your own friends and family.

I see this growing into something larger. A community forming around it and us creating tools that allows the gathering and sharing of this information with those close to us and others, importantly, making it easy and quick to do so. How and when this will happen is something I can’t say for now, it’s an idea. I’d love to see it become a reality and soon. If you want to help, contact me.

So without further waffle here is my “summary” for:

August – The Ocean

This is a massive topic, conservation of our oceans, one I’ll come back to again and again as it’s closest to my heart. I’d like to focus specifically on UK and EU fishing policy in this post as it’s an ongoing issue right now that affects us all but particularly some close friends of mine who are small boat fishermen in Cornwall, UK.  Before I do that though, there is a fantastic page on the Greenpeace International site that summarises the key concerns very well which you may like to take the time to read.

A staggering 80 percent of all the life on Earth is to be found hidden beneath the waves and this vast global ocean pulses around our world driving the natural forces which maintain life on our planet

The oceans provide vital sources of protein, energy, minerals and other products of use the world over and the rolling of the sea across the planet creates over half our oxygen, drives weather systems and natural flows of energy and nutrients around the world, transports water masses many times greater than all the rivers on land combined and keeps the Earth habitable.

Without the global ocean there would be no life on Earth.

It is gravely worrying, then, that we are damaging the oceans on a scale that is unimaginable to most people.

Read more:

 The issue: Overfishing and discards in the EU

Since its start in 1983, the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has failed to prevent overfishing. Over 25 years, short-term economic interest and political expediency has landed European fisheries in deep crisis.

Fewer and smaller fish are being caught and greater effort is required to find them, often resulting in the targeting of other, and sometimes even more vulnerable species.

According to the latest figures from the European Commission: 72 percent of all assessed EU fish stocks are estimated to be overexploited with over 20 percent being fished beyond safe biological limits, threatening their very future.

Read more (


Don’t live in the EU and think this does not affect you? Where do you think the fish is coming from if they no longer have the fish stocks to meet demand in the EU? Read on…

EU Fish stocks only last till July 3rd

Brussels – A report by OCEAN2012 and the new economics foundation reveals that starting July 3, the EU will be dependent on seafood from elsewhere, six days earlier than last year.

For the second year in a row, Fish Dependence: The Increasing Reliance of the EU on Fish From Elsewhere reveals the extent to which the EU and its member states are importing seafood because they have depleted their own waters. Fish stocks are a renewable resource, yet according to European Commission figures, EU fishing vessels are removing species more quickly than the stocks can replenish, leading boats to fish in waters of non-EU countries and the high seas.

Read more:




Half of all fish caught in the north sea are thrown back overboard dead.

Six months ago, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall left the comfort of River Cottage behind, and went on a journey to find out what was really going on at the industrial end of our fisheries. What he found was that things are not just bad … They’re mad.

Hugh learnt that half the fish caught in the North Sea are being thrown back into the sea, dead, because of crazy EU laws.

Read more:




Results and progress

In July, the European Commission published their proposals for a new Common Fisheries Policy … And they included recommendations for a discard ban. This would not have happened without the pressure of the Fish Fight. But that doesn’t mean that the law will actually change. There is another 18 months to go before the new Common Fisheries Policy becomes law, which is why Hugh went back to Brussels to launch the Fish Fight campaign in another 11 languages and countries. The pressure he generates across Europe could be the difference between success and failure, long term sustainable fisheries or more years of pointless waste.

Hugh’s response to the CFP reform proposal:


Take action, you CAN help

Published by Brendan

Brendan Piater is the founder of Arctic Online, a successful website design studio, Internet technologies expert, passionate conservationist, open source and free culture enthusiast, entrepreneur, expert spear-fisherman, ex-pineapple farmer and a rather good mackerel fisherman.

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