UK fishermen irate at BBC program


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
January 31, 2010

The UK’s two main fishermen’s federations are supporting an official complaint over a BBC TV program that they said portrays an inaccurate and damaging picture of the fishing industry.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) and National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations (NFFO) welcomed the news that industry body Seafish has formally written to the BBC complaining about the poor editorial standards in “Britain’s really disgusting food: fish.”

The program ignores the true situation regarding commercial fishing in the United Kingdom and its impact on the marine environment, said the SFF and NFFO. The groups are particularly dismayed at the continual repetition that “some scientists believe there will be no fish left in the sea in 50 years time.” Professor Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Canada, the scientist who originally made this assertion in 2006, has since rescinded this hypothesis. It is also a view not held by most mainstream scientists.

“This was an extremely damaging program to the UK fishing industry where the true facts were simply ignored. It seems that the program makers thought of a title and then made an episode to fit around their own narrow agenda,” the groups said in a combined statement.

“Seafood is one of the healthiest and most natural foods around, and its consumption should be promoted, not denigrated,” read the statement. “The program makers totally failed to acknowledge the huge strides made by the UK fishing industry in recent years to ensure a sustainable future. Such efforts have led to the first signs of recovery in the North Sea cod stock, and a growing number of UK fisheries are now certified, or are undergoing certification, by the Marine Stewardship Council as being sustainable and well managed.

“It is a great pity that the program makers felt unable or unwilling to report such facts. Our fishermen have a difficult and dangerous enough job as it is by bringing to our plates sustainable, nutritious and tasty seafood, without having to face a totally unwarranted onslaught of this sort,” added the statement.

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