The three champions of sustainable fishing have come together to put forward their views on how the fishing industry can better ensure its long term sustainability.
The expert views of Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council, Ian Gatt, President of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, and Mark Derry, Managing Director of Loch Fyne Restaurants have been compiled into a report entitled ‘Turning the Tide on Sustainability’.
Michelin-starred chef Nick Nairn, and journalist Alex Renton also share their views.
Among key actions highlighted as necessary to ensure long term sustainability were:
- The need for better enforcement of policy by governments
- Innovative solutions to ensure that aquaculture is sustainably and economically viable
- Consumer action in choosing sustainable fish
Despite headlines predicting a dire future for fishing, those interviewed for the report were confident that the industry is slowly moving in the right direction.
Turning the Tide on Sustainability, commissioned by Loch Fyne Restaurants in its tenth anniversary year, looks to learn from the challenges faced by the fishing and aquaculture industry over the past 10 years. The report highlights that although progress has already been made much more needs to be done to ensure sustainability and hence profitability in the long-term.
Mark Derry, Managing Director of Loch Fyne Restaurants, says: "Farmed fish can be sustainable and critics must accept that aquaculture is here to stay. However, there is no excuse for putting short-term profit before sustainability. In some species, wild fish are a scarce resource – which means that we need to look to aquaculture. Farmed fish, when done properly is a real improvement to overfishing, but the industry needs to continue to invest in finding solutions that will improve ethical and environmental standards."
Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council believes that the seafood market is changing and rapidly.
"Sustainability is now firmly on the agenda. With a growing business and ecological case for certification there has been a rapid increase in fisheries coming forward into the assessment process. Consumers must also do their bit and demand sustainable seafood choices. The MSC eco-label enables them to do this and with over 5 million tones of seafood now engaged at some stage of the MSC assessment process and nearly 1,500 individual labeled sustainable seafood products available in 36 countries around the world, the range of choice and availability has never been greater."
Ian Gatt, President of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation highlighted that when it comes to good practice, Scotland is leading the way. It has pioneered a 21-day closure of fishing areas in real time, wherever spawning or juvenile fish are spotted. Fishermen in Scotland have also increased mesh size by 40 per cent which allows juveniles to escape from the net and contribute to development the next generation of its species.
"The completely sustainable supply of the seafood that we enjoy so much is a shared goal. To reach it, we in the Scottish catching sector are committed to a full range of measures including better stock science, certification of sustainability and avoidance of unwanted catches by the use of selective gear and targeted closures."