Seafish urges Fish Fight march participants to know the facts
Article Date: 2013-02-28
Seafish has urged those participating in the march to Westminster organised by Hugh’s Fish Fight to recognise the facts behind the issues before jumping on the badwagon.
The march is taking place to support the campaign by celebrity chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, to demand the implementation of 127 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in UK waters as quickly as possible.
In Seafish’s view, calling for such measures, without due consideration of robust scientific evidence and detailed decision-making, presents a very real danger of undermining and undervaluing years of environmental improvements.
Dr Paul Williams, Chief Executive of Seafish said:
“When livelihoods and communities are at risk of damage we must only deal in fact. It is vital that the discussions around such complex issues continue to be held by the people who have the knowledge and expertise to make considered informed decisions. To that end, the fishing industry has already been working closely with scientists and policy-makers for several years on the successful implementation of MPAs.
“This is not a ‘new’ campaign In the UK. We are already well on the way to designating more MPAs. I would urge all those taking part in the march today to ensure that they are well-informed on what they are campaigning for and give due recognition to the extensive work that has already been completed.
“Hugh’s Fish Fight has lost sight of the fact that 31 proposed MPAs have been approved, out of the original 127 proposed, for a reason. That reason was that the Government’s Scientific Advisory Panel found that the review of the scientific basis for the additional areas – what was being protected, why it was important, what would be the benefit – simply wasn^t adequate. To put pressure on the industry and Government for more at this stage is therefore irresponsible and opportunistic as it is our understanding that more MPAs will eventually be considered anyway once proper scientific evidence for them has been gathered.”