Fishermen Unite To Condemn Negative Portrayal Of Fishing

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
1 February 2010, at 12:00am

UK - The UKs two main UK fishermens federations have thrown their support behind an official complaint over a BBC programme that portrayed a totally inaccurate and damaging picture of the fishing industry.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) and the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) have welcomed the news that industry body Seafish has formally written to the BBC complaining about the poor editorial standards in the TV programme ‘Britain’s really disgusting food: fish’.

The SFF and NFFO say the programme ignored the true situation regarding commercial fishing in the UK and the impact upon the marine environment.

The Federations are particularly dismayed at the continual repetition in the programme that ‘some scientists believe there will be ‘no fish left in the sea in 50 years time’. The scientist who originally made this assertion in 2006 – Professor Boris Worm of Dalhousie University, Canada – has since rescinded this hypothesis; and it is also a view not held by most mainstream scientists.

In a joint statement, the SFF and NFFO said: “This was an extremely damaging programme to the UK fishing industry where the true facts were simply ignored. It seems that the programme makers thought of a title and then made an episode to fit around their own narrow agenda.

“Seafood is one of the healthiest and most natural foods around and its consumption should be promoted, not denigrated. The programme makers totally failed to acknowledge the huge strides made by the UK fishing industry in recent years to ensure a sustainable future.

“The industry has been making changes and sacrifices to be as conservation-minded as possible, working with government on selective gear and closed areas, and embracing a conservation scheme which offers fishermen incentives to fish in a responsible way.

“Such efforts have led to the first signs of recovery in the North Sea cod stock, and a growing number of UK fisheries are now certified, or are undergoing certification, by the Marine Stewardship Council as being sustainable and well managed.

“It is a great pity that the programme makers felt unable or unwilling to report such facts. Our fishermen have a difficult and dangerous enough job as it is by bringing to our plates sustainable, nutritious and tasty seafood, without having to face a totally unwarranted onslaught of this sort.”