Spending threatens wild fish – Fishfarmer Magazine

Spending threatens wild fish 05 March, 2010 –

THE UK government was today begged by campaigners to end its careless approach to buying seafood.

Currently, schools, hospitals and care homes, for example, can buy fish such as cod, haddock and wild salmon that experts warn are being over-exploited and now have seriously low stocks, or have been caught by destructive fishing methods.

Campaigners are calling on government to support new legislation, proposed to Parliament today, to guarantee that only sustainable fish will be used in public institutions from now on.

A majority of the estimated £40 million of taxpayers’ money spent on seafood in public institutions each year is likely to have been spent on species and stocks classified as ‘fish to avoid’ by conservation experts, or caught in a way that damages marine life. New research, by the Good Food for Our Money campaign, shows that only one out of 341 seafood options available to hospitals via the NHS’s biggest catering supplier was certified as sustainable.

David Drew, MP for Stroud, is today proposing new legislation to Parliament that would ensure all seafood purchased by public organisations is sustainable. A new law would stop our money being spent on seafood classified as ‘fish to avoid’ by the Marine Conservation Society, and make sure all wild-caught fish meets Marine Stewardship Council standards.

David Drew MP said: “The Seafood Procurement Bill I am introducing today would help safeguard the future of some our most loved fish species, and would provide the British taxpayer with some much needed peace of mind about the fish that their money is buying.”

Alex Jackson, Co-ordinator of the Good Food for Our Money campaign, said: “Having no sustainability rules for an issue as important as fish is nothing short of reckless. The only way to guarantee to the British taxpayer that their money is being spent on food that is healthy, good for the environment and conserves of some of the world’s most endangered fish is to introduce legally binding standards for all food purchased with public money.”

Members of the public can show their support for the Seafood Procurement Bill by asking their MP to support the Bill, and by signing up as ‘fans’ of David Drew MP’s promotion of the Bill via the ‘Good Food for Our Money campaign’ Facebook page.