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Mixed Reactions To Forthcoming TV Programme

UK - The industry fears that a TV programme scheduled to be aired in January could strike a blow against salmon and tuna.

Fears are mounting in the fishing industry that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's forthcoming C4 series on fish will spark a consumer backlash against salmon and tuna, reports The Grocer.

Hugh's Fish Fight is scheduled to air in January. As well as exploring the issue of discarding fish at sea, it will look at aquaculture and the environmental issues surrounding global tuna fisheries.

Given the approach taken by Fearnley-Whittingstall in previous food industry campaigns such as Hugh's Chicken Run, which targeted intensive poultry rearing fishing industry, insiders are nervous.

"I'm not sure how balanced it will be," said one tuna industry source who had been in contact with the series' producers. "I'm hopeful it's an honest look, but I think most of it was in the can by the time they spoke to me."

Although Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall has yet to give an official line on the show's content, he gave a flavour of the likely areas of focus at a low-profile event on 23 November in Westminster.

"I was seeing an aquaculture business importing thousands of tonnes of fishmeal from the other side of the world," he said, commenting on a trip to a Shetland salmon farm. "Peruvian anchovy sucked up on enormous factory ships, ground into a powder, shipped half way round the world and fed to 25,000 salmon in a cage in a Scottish loch being shipped to a supermarket or a ready meal near you."

He added that he had offered shoppers at a Bournemouth shopping centre 300g of small oily fish in return for any 100g of salmon in their basket to highlight the fact it takes three kilos of small fish to produce onw kilo of farmed salmon and not a single person had turned him down. "It shows that when the public realise what's at stake they may be prepared to make some different choices," he said.

A salmon industry source said although Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall was right to flag up such issues, salmon farmers were already addressing them, concludes the report in The Grocer.

the Fish Site Editor

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