In 50 years there will be no wild fish

By Mark Rigby

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Birds eye, Overfishing

I used to think that Birds Eye was just being ignorant when it put 'white fish' on the front of its packs and then I realised that it's because it has long packaging runs and can never guarantee which types of white fish go into each meal. That aside, I should applaud Birds Eye for the work it is doing with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to help ensure that we are all supporting the cause, which is sustainable seafood.

So, what's all this fuss about sustainability, and why should I care? In a nutshell: in the past 50 years there has been a five-fold increase in the amount of fish we have taken from the sea and in the next 50 years there will be no wild fish left at all. I'd say that is a good enough reason in itself.

The cause, at the end of the day, is very simple: greed! This is an issue that crops up many a time in our industry and others and it's this greed, aligned with a willful ignorance, that has led to a quarter of all total fisheries being classified as overfished or depleted and half of the remaining fisheries being fished as hard as they can be!

This is partly due to overfishing, partly to climate change and partly to taking specific species out of the water that other species depend upon.

It's a downward spiral and as fewer fish are available, the harder the fisheries try and fish. Overfishing and its environmental impact is the second biggest issue facing our planet, after climate change.

While companies such as Birds Eye are going some way to introducing sustainable and MSC-approved sources to their products, it could be too little too late. If nothing else, consumers need to be educated and should look for the MSC tick on the fish they purchase in shops and eat in restaurants. They should be trying to avoid, at all costs, unsustainable fish, such as Blue Fin Tuna.

Mark Rigby is senior business development chef at Premier Foods

Email: mark.rigby@premierfoods.co.uk

Related topics: NPD, Meat, poultry & seafood

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