Retailers must act responsibly says Prince of Wales – Fishupdate.com

Retailers must act responsibly says Prince of Wales Published:  07 November, 2006

HRH The Prince of Wales

DURING an exclusive interview for TVE’s Earth Report series, The Prince of Wales makes a passionate call for a worldwide effort to save the world’s endangered albatrosses from extinction. He calls on retailers to obtain their fish only from certified stocks.

Today, The Prince will host a reception at Clarence House, in conjunction with The Friends of TVE and the RSPB, to launch the film, ‘Race to the Save the Albatross’.

Speaking in the film, scheduled for global broadcast on BBC World from November 11-13, The Prince warns that humanity needs to take urgent action to avoid bringing about the extinction of the albatross.

“I feel it should be our duty to ensure that we don’t lose any species if we possibly can help it,” he says.

“Think of the way in which we treat our world, and the way we treat our oceans, and the way we exploit the fish stocks in particular. It would be such an appalling commentary on the way we treat the world.”

The Prince calls on food retailers to act responsibly: “A lot is dependent on the retailers and big stores – they also can make a huge difference by deciding that they are going to obtain their fish only from certified stocks.”

Albatrosses are being killed at an estimated rate of 100,000 birds per annum. These deaths are unintentionally caused by long-line fishing boats scouring the Southern Ocean for highly-prized species like tuna, toothfish and swordfish. They fish with lines up to 120 kilometres long, with thousands of baited hooks attached. BirdLife International estimates that one bird drowns on a longline hook every five minutes.

One of the major problems they face, the film shows, is the number of pirate ships fishing the Southern Ocean under flags of convenience – the illegal, unregulated and unreported vessels thought to be responsible for at least a quarter of all the albatrosses killed annually.

The BirdLife International Task Force is working with fishermen aboard vessels to promote simple, low cost ways to cut the number of albatrosses killed by long-line fishing boats, including setting lines at night, weighting them so they sink quickly, and using streamer lines to scare the birds away.

In his commentary, The Prince highlights the efforts being made by these conservationists. “One of the things that I think is very impressive is the work being done by the Albatross Task Force,” he says.

“These mitigation measures have been shown to reduce the damage to albatrosses to almost zero . . . the challenge is to get the message across that these mitigation measures should be used at all times in all these fishing areas.”

Dr Ben Sullivan, of RSPB and BirdLife International, said, “The international legislation we are building to save the albatross will only work if it filters down to effective action on the fishing deck, and this film is a huge boost to spreading that grassroots awareness. We already have five Albatross Task Force experts, funded by the RSPB, making a real difference in South Africa and Brazil, and we will shortly be up and running in Chile too.”

Commenting on the latest news from the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), Graham Wynne, the RSPB’s chief executive, said: “We have just received incontrovertible proof of the value of mitigation measures for protecting albatrosses. CCAMLR, the body responsible for managing the fisheries around Antarctica, has reported that no albatross has been killed in this year’s regulated long-line fishery; a remarkable achievement given that ten years ago several thousand were killed annually. If other regions incorporated these measures today, the slaughter would be cut dramatically from tomorrow.”

Produced in collaboration with the RSPB, ‘Race to the Save the Albatross’ is the fourth programme in TVE’s new series of Earth Report – the longest running environment series on global television.

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