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Tag Archive for 'sustainable'

The End of the Line South Africa launch

Watch a news report of the launch on The End of the Line in South Africa featuring an interview with Charles Clover.


US cats still eating bluefin flavour Whiskas

Cat food flavoured with bluefin tuna, an endangered species, is being advertised online by the food giant Mars in the United States despite undertakings by the company that it will phase out seafood from unsustainable sources.

US readers of Fish2fork have pointed out the following link to catfood with “natural” bluefin tuna flavour:

Last month Mars Petcare announced in Britain that it was now committed globally to using only sustainably sourced fish across the Whiskas and Sheba brand ranges by 2020. By the end of this year, the eco-label denoting Marine Stewardship Council certification would appear on packs.

Mark Johnson, managing director of the company, told environmental groups in a letter: “As Europe’s largest petcare business we consider that we are in a position to affect (sic) real change where governments and regulators acting along may not be able to.”

Willie Mackenzie of Greenpeace commented: “Continuing to encourage the use of endangered species for catfood seems rather at odds with Whiskas’ recent announcement that they will only take fish from sustainable stocks, and eventually get round to sourcing all its fish sustainable by 2020.

“Atlantic bluefin is collapsing now. There probably won’t be any left by 2020, so Whiskas may find it impossible to get a sustainable source for their ‘natural bluefin flavour’ very, very soon.”

A spokesman for Mars Petcare US said that the following statement was valid from the time of its policy announcement on March 31 – though it has not been released to the press before as far as we know.

“Sustainability is a journey and we’ve worked quickly to identify a viable and sustainable replacement for WHISKAS® Blue Fin Tuna Flavor in Sauce®. We’re pleased to announce today that we’re removing Blue Fin Tuna from the WHISKAS® line up and offering cats and cat lovers a more sustainable WHISKAS® variety made with real Pacific albacore tuna.”

The spokesman was unable to say what has become of the ahi tuna flavoured Whiskas also advertised online. Ahi is a Hawaiian term used to describe both yellowfin tuna and the endangered bigeye tuna.

Charles Clover


Victory for Japan: no marine species protected

Delegates overturned the protection of the porbeagle shark, agreed earlier this week, and rejected protection measures for other shark species in the closing hours of the global summit on trade in endangered species in Doha.

A proposal that would have regulated trade in the scalloped, smooth and great hammerhead sharks, along with dusky and sandbar sharks, was reconsidered, after being defeated earlier this week, but did not achieve the two thirds majority out of 175 countries it needed for approval.

Porbeagle shark won 84 votes for, 46 against and 10 abstentions. The hammerhead shark proposal won 76 votes for, 53 against with 14 abstentions.

Similar proposals to regulate trade in oceanic whitetip sharks, spiny dogfish and red coral have all been rejected this week.

The decisions made in the last hours of the Doha meeting made it a clean sweep by Japan, which had mounted an orchestrated campaign to vote down all 13 marine species proposed for listing under the Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) over the past two weeks.

Sue Lieberman of the Pew Environment Trust said: “It is a truly sad day for conservation. CITES used to be a treaty that restricted trade for the sake of conservation. Today, it has become a treaty that restricts conservation for the sake of trade.”

Heike Zidowitz, president of Europe’s leading association of shark scientists, the Shark Alliance, said: “These failures leave some of the oceans’ most vulnerable and heavily traded species at great risk from unregulated, international trade.”

The proposals to list porbeagle and spiny dogfish under CITES Appendix II were developed by the European Union while the United States proposed similar action for hammerheads and oceanic whitetip sharks. The Pacific island nation of Palau co-sponsored all four proposals.

The high demand for shark fins by Asian countries, which use them in soup, is thought to be the major threat to hammerhead and oceanic whitetip sharks while porbeagles and spiny dogfish are sought primarily to satisfy European demand for their meat.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), all the shark species proposed for CITES listing were classified as Globally Threatened under the IUCN Red List and meet the criteria for listing under CITES Appendix II, which regulates trade.

Appendix II listings require countries to issue export permits after deciding whether trade in a species is legal and not detrimental to the species’ survival.

In the debate on hammerhead sharks, Jane Lyder, the US Interior Department’s deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, told fellow delegates, “The only data available show that the species is in decline.”

But a delegate from Japan questioned those statistics, and suggested small island states would suffer economically if they were forced to regulate the shark trade. “For developing coastal states, trade would be hampered and enforcement would be a nightmare.”

Conservationists say the irony is that the country hosting the meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity this year is the country that did the most at this meeting to undermine the protection of marine biodiversity, Japan.

Charles Clover


Which fish is at the end of your line?

The end of the line? Is this a film or an echo of the thoughts in my mind, somehow captured and recorded to be played to those that are prepared to listen to the truth that is unfolding all around us.

Fishermen from Portland Sea Bass company

Fishermen from Portland Sea Bass company

My name is Jason Hemmings, I am the managing director of a fishing company, Portland Sea Bass Ltd, that catches and sells seafood that is fished in a sustainable manner - by rod and line - direct to the customer.

We also dive for scallops picking each one individually from the sea floor whilst leaving their surroundings intact and unharmed.

I was invited to a screening of The End of the Line at which Claire Lewis, one of the producers of the film, was doing a question and answer session afterwards.

I would like to say that it was an eye opener but as a commercial fisherman I am all too aware of what is happening in our oceans and see the story unfolding in front of me every day.

I have only been a fisherman for three full years, this is my fourth, our main target species is the European Sea Bass. Currently this is not a pressured stock but in the not-too-distant future, it may well be.

If the fishing methods that are used to catch these fish by other fishermen, such as pair trawling, are not stopped, if politicians continue to ignore what they have paid their scientists good money to undertake and understand, if the policing of illegal fishing is not funded or they are not given the power to do anything about illegal fishing, if reserves are not set up, if closed seasons when fish are breeding are not introduced then the Sea Bass will go the same way that the rest of the fish are going - fish heaven. Which would be hell for all of us that depend on them for our livelihood.

We need to harness them not just harvest them.

Politicians find it hard to come up with solutions, they have to think about commerce - which is destroying our planet. They always act too late and the longer they leave it, the more the costs spiral and the less financially viable the solutions become.

Sometimes in politics dictators are needed just enough to get us back on the right tracks, so we can “do the right thing!” The dictator is… yep… that’s right… little old wise… you.

Start buying fish that is fished by sustainable methods, don’t buy fish that is endangered, buy fish that have finished their breeding season and are in season, so to speak.

Buy fish that belong to an accredited fishery. Ask where your fish comes from and what fishing method was used. If the person selling the fish doesn’t know, then don’t buy it.

If you stop buying fish and fish products that are not harvested in a sustainable manner, then the person catching them will not be able to sell their fish, their operation will not be profitable, they will either put their good head on and fish sustainably or go out of business.

If you stick to your guns you can make it happen. Don’t give in, be powerful, be part of it, be strong play your trump card and win.

You are trumps and the line is in your hand! What is at the end of it?


The End of the Line coverage following the film’s UK release

The End of the Line has still been receiving plenty of coverage following its UK release and in the run up to its US launch. Here we bring together the latest news and a few older pieces that slipped through the net.

The Guardian covers the film and the issue of fish stocks again. In the Environment section, Felicity Lawrence, writes: ”The supermarkets have increased their targets for sustainable fish, and The End of the Line’s film release has prompted a flurry of announcements – most notably from M&S and Pret a Manger – to move even faster . . . .

“There is reason to hope that fish stocks can still recover, but we need to keep asking for sustainable catches. Keep the pressure up.” Continue reading ‘The End of the Line coverage following the film’s UK release’


Help us save the seas by rating restaurants

The End of the Line film asks that consumers should choose only sustainable seafood - which means, first and foremost, that they agree to avoid eating actively endangered species, for example, the bluefin and bigeye tunas and the common skate.

Dear Chef / Restaurant owner seafood response card

Dear Chef / Restaurant Owner seafood response card

To help communicate this message to chefs and restaurant owners that we want to buy only sustainable seafood, we have drawn up a downloadable leaflet which can be printed easily on a single sheet of A4 so customers can let restaurants know what they think of the seafood on a restaurant’s menu after dining there.

Carry it with you when you go out to dinner.

The leaflet says: As a customer it is essential to me that you sell seafood that is not caught or farmed in ways that damage the ocean or its species.

It enables customers to rate the restaurant, by ticking one of the following options:

  1. I notice that some of the seafood you serve is caught or farmed in ways that is likely to harm the ocean and the wildlife in it
  2. Thank you for offering sustainable seafood. I look forward to recommending your business to my family and friends.

The card is then left after the meal, or with the bill.


The End of the Line focuses spotlight on celebrity reaction to bluefin tuna on Nobu menu

This week has seen a dramatic increase in the coverage for The End of the Line and related fishing issues in the run up to the World Ocean Day Screenings.

Many of the national daily papers have covered the film or the Nobu decision to continue selling bluefin tuna - a subject brought into the spotlight by The End of the Line campaign and Greenpeace.

In an extensive comment piece for The Independent, Johann Hari, asks whether we will be the generation that runs out of fish.

He writes: “In the babbling Babel of 24/7 news . . . the slow-motion stories that will define our age are often lost. An extraordinary documentary released next week, The End of the Line, forces us to stop, and see.”

The Telegraph reports that Sienna Miller, Charlize Theron, Jemima Khan, Woody Harrelson, Laura Bailey, Alicia Silverstone, Zac Goldsmith, Sting and his wife Trudie Styler have jointly written to Nobu asking him to remove bluefin tuna from the restaurant’s menus, so they can “dine with a clear conscience”.

The Sun also carries the story saying: “Sienna Miller blasted a top London restaurant for putting endangered bluefin tuna on its menu.” Continue reading ‘The End of the Line focuses spotlight on celebrity reaction to bluefin tuna on Nobu menu’


Eco-label awarded to UK mackerel fishery

Vessels catching mackerel around the Scottish coast have been awarded certification by the Marine Stewardship Council, recognising that their landings are from well-managed stocks.

This follows the certification of North Sea herring last year as a well managed stock that people can eat without fear that they are destroying the stock or destroying other species as by-catch.

The Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group is responsible for Scotland’s largest individual catches of fish.  They landed  95,700 tons of mackerel in 2007.  Smoked, frozen and fresh mackerel will soon be on sale bearing the MSC logo meaning that it can be traced back to the independently certified SPSG fishery.

John Goodlad, chairman of the Group, said:   “This is another defining moment for the Scottish pelagic industry as it establishes its environmentally responsible credentials.”
Continue reading ‘Eco-label awarded to UK mackerel fishery’