FISH FIGHT CAMPAIGNER and celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall faces critics from the fishing industry at a meeting held by Seafish.
Fearnley-Whittingstall was a special guest at the Common Language Group (CLG) industry meeting held at Fishmongers Hall where he defended his campaign in front of more than 40 seafood business leaders, saying that he wants to see a thriving fishing sector – but only if the oceans are protected and fished in a responsible way.
Fearnley-Whittingstall said: “I was delighted to be invited along to this meeting with the fishing and seafood industry. I heard their concerns about the campaign, and about the positive moves being made to make fishing more sustainable, reduce discards, and improve global seafood supply chains. It was a constructive and positive meeting – despite a few well publicised ding-dongs in the press, there’s plenty that we agree on.
“I emphasised that Fish Fight has always been about promoting a positive future for the fishing industry. That means reforming the legislation that causes crazy outcomes like discarding fish. It means celebrating British seafood that is caught responsibly. And it means asking for transparency and action from our big retailers so that we can all make the right choices with our wallets.”
Seafish Chief Executive Paul Williams said he was “delighted” that Fearnley-Whittingstall had accepted the invitation to attend the CLG meeting.
“Hugh knew only too well how angry the industry was about the Fish Fight campaign, so it was a pretty brave move coming in to face your fiercest critics face to face. I think we all learned a lot from the frank exchange of views, and although Hugh and his team are perfectly entitled to campaign and have a point of view, I hope we will see a more balanced perspective in future reporting.
“The media expects, rightly, that the seafood industry acts in a responsible way. We in turn hope they will report on the industry in a similar responsible way.”