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UK Public Shows Healthy Appetite For Fishing Reform

UK - The UK and Scottish Governments should feel confident that they have overwhelming public support for taking action to help fish stocks to recover, said WWF yesterday (Tues 12 April), following the publication of a new opinion poll.

The YouGov poll, commissioned by the environmental charity, found that almost four out of five people (79 per cent) in the UK want the fish that is on sale to come from sustainable, not overfished, sources, but that less than one quarter (21 per cent) think there is adequate information on whether fish products come from well managed sustainable stocks.

Importantly, the poll also found support from two-thirds (66 per cebt) of people for reform of the controversial Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in order to ensure the recovery of fish stocks and also allow future generations to make a living from the sea.

The UK figures are part of a Europe-wide survey which shows similar levels of support for reform from other member countries.

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said: "It is now clear that the overwhelming majority of the public want the fish they buy to come from sustainable sources. This can only be achieved by reforming the outdated rules which dictate how much fish is taken from our seas - the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). In its current form this has taken short term decisions that have failed to protect threatened fish stocks and the communities in Scotland that depend upon them.

"In order to deliver healthy fish stocks we need to see a number of measures including the introduction of long-term management plans, greater local participation in the CFP process and urgent reduction of by-catch and wasteful discards. This is a rare chance to change the existing system. It is therefore vital after the Holyrood Elections in May, the new Scottish Government continues to push for progressive and ambitious reform of the CFP in line with the wishes of the public.

"We know many retailers are taking steps to increase their use of sustainable fish and are promoting this through the labelling their products, including the use of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo. However, if our campaign is successful in securing the right reforms then in the future all fish caught will be from sustainable sources."

Campaigner and Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said: "I applaud the survey work done by WWF which shows that the vast majority of people want to know that the fish they buy comes from sustainable sources. I am also thrilled to hear that two thirds of people support a strong reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. These issues are too important for the politicians to ignore, and it is beholden on them now to make the changes to this broken policy that the public clearly want."

the Fish Site Editor

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