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Minister Discusses How Do We Choose Our Fish?

Sustainability Politics

EU - Speaking at the Congrs Relais and Chteaux speech and prize-giving ceremony in Lisbon, fisheries minister Maria Damanaki discusses that what we eat and how we fish are more closely related than first thought.

Speaking to an audience of chefs from around the world, Ms Damanaki opened her speech stating that what we eat and how we fish are closely related, and that this relationship is important to the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Reiterating the current EU fish stocks problems of over fishing, discards and too much focus on short term economic benefits, Ms Damanaki stated what needs to be done before it is to late.

Commenting on the negative effect that no change would have on fish retailers, Ms Damanaki stated that first and foremost, overfishing must be stopped. She then stated that discards must also be reduced. Alongside this, she thanked retailers for the important work they had done on raising consumer awareness and helping fishermen by promoting fish that would usually be discarded.

Ms Damanaki stated: "I propose to phase out discards in all fisheries in a step by step approach. We will accompany this with better gear selectivity and with proper support for the industry to implement it. Then we will have to land every fish caught in the nets. If it is undersized fish then it goes into fishmeal production. If it is oversize fish then the fishermen can sell it for human consumption and they will keep the profits from this sale."

Despite the pressures on fisheries, Ms Damanaki stated that the world must keep eating fish due to its incredible health and nutrition benefits, as long as it is fished in a sustainable way.

Ms Damanaki then stated that it is up to the chefs present and retailers to make sure that cunsumers pick these sustainably sourced fish: "Your choice as chefs is key and convincing."

"If it is true that, as Fernando Pessoa says: "Every gesture is a revolutionary act", then you are helping us to conduct our revolution towards sustainability. If European citizens are ever more aware of the need to value sustainability, this is also thanks to the way that European chefs work. Your can drive the change: eating sustainably means fishing sustainably," Ms Damanaki concluded.