Aquaculture for all

Seafish Add up 'The Price of Fish' to Economy

Environment Economics Politics +3 more

UK - The British seafood industry leads the world in sustainable practice and delivers more than 5 billion of GVA to the UK economy, according to a new report due to be released by Seafish, the UK authority on seafood.

The report, “The Price of Fish?” underlines that more than 86,000 people are either employed directly or work in jobs supported by the seafood industry, with many of these jobs being undertaken in rural environments with few other employment opportunities. Companies that import seafood into Britain generate £2.1 billion of value, whilst exports create a further £1 billion of value for UK plc.

“As well as providing skilled jobs, Britain can also be rightly proud of its record on sustainability”, said Seafish Chief Executive John Rutherford, speaking at the report’s launch in Westminster. “More British fisheries are MSC certified or in process of certification than any other nation on earth.”

“What’s more, the Responsible Fishing Scheme, launched by Seafish in 2006, now includes more than 44 per cent of the UK fleet by tonnage – more than 350 vessels. This scheme ensures minimum standards of care for catch and the environment, and has just been adopted by Tesco as a condition of supply for its stores in South-West England. A further 300 vessels are undergoing certification, and ten more are applying to join the scheme every month.”

A poll conducted by YouGov for Seafish has revealed that 83 per cent of the British public think that sea fishing is a vital part of Britain’s industrial tradition, underlining the importance of this industry’s skills to Britain’s future.

The same poll revealed that 62 per cent of the population are concerned about the UK’s ability to provide seafood for itself in the context of growing problems with global food security.

“These statistics demonstrate that the British public are rightly concerned that this nation must retain the ability to catch, process and distribute seafood products – not just for the economic benefits, but also to ensure that we can provide food for ourselves as the world’s population rises and demand for all foodstuffs, including seafood, grows higher.”, continued Rutherford.

“In that context, we are calling on the British government to consider the needs of existing economic activities such as fishing, aquaculture and processing in the Marine Bill, which comes before parliament in June.”

Rutherford’s views echo those of Professor John Beddington, the UK Chief Scientific Adviser, whose speech on 7 March 2009 predicted that food security would be the most pressing issue facing the world by 2031 (see notes to editors).

“We must combine our concerns for the environment with the recognition that seafood is one of the most concentrated forms of protein, and one of the healthiest foods available, as study after study has demonstrated.”, concluded Rutherford.