More actors bare all in the name of fish protection

Published on
March 23, 2016

Leading London seafood restaurant J Sheekey Oyster Bar has endorsed the sustainable fishing campaign Fishlove by commissioning a series of photographs featuring leading London West End theatre actors holding fish against their bare skin.

The J Sheekey/Fishlove series includes images of Mark Rylance, winner of this year’s Oscar for best supporting actor, Emma Thompson alongside her husband actor Greg Wise, Miriam Margolyes, Dougray Scott and Ade Edmundson, among others. The latest series has been photographed by Jillian Edelstein.

Commenting on holding a smooth hound shark from the English Channel, Rylance said, “I felt I was holding a very old being. Our skins were very different, mine smooth and soft, hers, like sandpaper, yet somehow similar as well. Fish are a mystery to me. They are like creatures from dreams. They are evolution. They are also limited and I believe we must create great wildlife parks in the oceans where no human pursues the fish in order to sustain their livelihood, and our own. I posed for Fishlove to join those highlighting the plight of fish on earth at present.”

One of the main objectives of the Fishlove campaign is to take pressure away from eating popular fish, by encouraging the consumption of lesser-known species. To celebrate the launch and raise awareness with guests at the restaurant, J Sheekey will have a daily-changing sustainable Fishlove special on its menu.

With frequently provocative images of naked celebrities holding endangered fish species, Fishlove has become one of the most successful campaigns raising awareness of how destructive fishing practices affect the marine environment. Indeed, the image of Helena Bonham-Carter in 2015 with a yellowfin tuna is widely credited for having persuaded the U.K. Government to commit to creating the largest network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the world.

“It made sense for J Sheekey Oyster Bar to get behind this campaign, especially since the photographs feature wonderful actors who work in the theatres on our doorstep,” said Tim Hughes, chef director for Caprice Holdings. “We are passionate about marine conservation, and making sure that the suppliers and fishermen we work with are as committed to fish sustainability as we are.”

Hughes is committed to not selling anything that is red listed on the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Good Fish Guide and has been instrumental in supporting small U.K. fishers such as The Ethical Shellfish Company, which harvests king scallops by hand rather than using destructive trawling. He is also very supportive of the MCS’s long-standing campaign to secure more and better MPAs in U.K. waters.

“I can’t imagine not being able to eat fish, or cook fish, or have a restaurant that doesn’t serve fish to our guests... But this is exactly what is going to happen if we don’t make the industry more sustainable,” he said.

Samuel Stone from the MCS said, “It’s fantastic to see a seafood restaurant like J Sheekey not only getting behind marine issues, but also incorporating this ethos into their everyday buying practices. Through doing so, they really help raise awareness of and increase demand for more sustainable seafood.”

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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