NGO: Don’t be afraid of ‘Fish Fight’


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
February 28, 2013

A major fisheries non-government organization is urging the aquaculture industry not to abandon shrimp feed sourcing from Asian countries, despite the U.K. “Fish Fight” television program exposing environmental damage connected to Asian shrimp fishmeal production.

The program, presented by U.K. celebrity chef-turned-activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, is a miniseries documentary about the relationship between the environment and the world’s fishing, aquaculture, and other seafood and fishing-related industries.

Now in its second season, the program focuses on how some of these industries do damage — whether intentional or not — to the environment and aquatic ecosystems.

A recent broadcast of “Fish Fight” described the damage done by some shrimp fishmeal companies in several Asian nations, but the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), an organization that promotes sustainable practices in fisheries around the world, is calling for people in the aquaculture industry to think before flatly refusing to source fishmeal from Asia.

Some Asia-based fishmeal companies do produce their product sustainably, and a release from SFP indicates the organization is working on projects in Vietnam and Thailand to improve the sustainability of fishmeal production there. Rather than a blanket boycott, SFP is asking aquaculture leaders to keep sourcing fishmeal in Asia, but to seek out sustainable sources.

“It’s a good thing that Fish Fight has highlighted the problems with many Asian fisheries that supply fishmeal to aquaculture — this is a significant challenge for sustainable fisheries and marine conservation,” said Blake Lee-Harwood, SFP’s communications director. “However, the solution to this problem is for the whole supply chain to engage in projects to improve these fisheries rather than trying to stop sourcing. If responsible companies walk away from this issue, the unsustainable practices will still continue, and the fishmeal and shrimps will go to markets with fewer concerns about responsible fishing.”

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