Posted by: brigid benson | March 26, 2012

Thanks for all the fish

Mackerel    Marine Conservation Society    Fishmonger Tim   Performing  Cat 

Today the global Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) confirmed that it will suspend the accreditation of the blue and white fish swoosh eco label for 8 fisheries from March 31 2012 after the Faroes and Iceland breached strict limits on quotas for mackerel.

The surface waters of areas in the North East Atlantic fisheries have warmed  up over recent years and  the mackerel have migrated north into the path of boats from the Faroes and Iceland. While they say that fish stocks are increasing and want quotas to increase accordingly the MSC  has acted in its mission ‘to promote the best environmental choice in seafood.’

The ruling will affect the UK’s single largest fishery, the NorthEast Atlantic fishery, worth 140,000 tonnes. The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association is one of seven certified mackerel fisheries in the North East Atlantic. And any mackerel landed in europe after March 31 will not be able to use the blue swoosh either.

The MSC is supported in its mission by chefs keen to spread the sustainability word among consumers.

MSC supporters include Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Raymond Blanc.

I passionately believe that it is up to each of us, be it consumer or chef, to make a responsible choice. By supporting MSC, I am ensuring that as a chef, I am helping to ensure that fish stocks will be replenished for generations to come. I also hope that many more chefs will join this worthy cause.” 

Raymond Blanc, Chef patron, Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons

Fishmonger Tim’s sad goodbye

By strange coincidence, today I was reminded again of the high cost of fish at every stage of its journey to our plate. I passed by the closed up shop of fishmonger Tim. I’d always admired his clean, bright, cheery counters . At night the shop’s plate glass window was protected by blue boards, charmingly painted with a fish blowing bubbles. When I was producing a national advertising campaign for Barclays Bank, I thought of Tim.  The brief required a small business owner – a fishmonger was ideal – with a blue theme.  Tim’s shop was perfect.

The shoot also required a cat to sniff at fish boxes delivered fresh to the door from the fish market. After much searching for a performing feline that would take  instruction, wouldn’t scoff the fish and resisted fleeing from the photography crew, I resorted to employing my own moggy, Nickleby. He’s in cat heaven now but when I look back at the pictures, I  feel proud  that he achieved his task with aplomb.

To see Tim’s sad letter in the window of his empty shop today was extremely moving. We all pay a high price for fish, some more than others.

Thanks for all the fish

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