Higher Education Funding Council for England

Can we tackle overfishing? Anyfin is possible...

Thursday 02-04-2015 - 15:39

How much do you think about the sustainability of the fish you’re eating? Students at the University of Exeter are leading a campaign to get sustainable fish on the menu at their university – and all institutions across the UK.

In the swirling complexity of sustainability issues we need to address, overfishing can sometimes get ignored.But it’s a crucial problem to tackle, not only to sustain our own eating habits, but because 60 per cent of all known living species are currently in decline.

Fish are a huge part of that, and it’s us who are driving the problem.

“In the UK, 80 per cent of the seafood we eat comes from just five species (tuna, salmon, prawns, cod and haddock)”, explains campaign leader Flora.

“This puts massive pressure on the populations of these species. A huge amount of the fish are thrown away as bycatch because they are less desirable species and this adds to the problem of overfishing”

Inspired by a series of lectures on marine biology, Flora and Steph have begun lobbying their institution to become MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified – which means that the fish have been sourced in a responsible and sustainable way.

“The MSC monitors the fisheries to ensure fish populations are not being overexploited and MSC fish are readily available in supermarkets so it would be easy to make a change in our buying habits”, Steph – the other campaign leader – tells us.

Flora and Steph have met with their institution’s sustainability board to drive change, and will be holding a big event this summer centred around a meal of sustainable fish to show how valuable and achievable it is to take responsibility for our oceans through what we eat.

“Currently, there are 25 universities in the UK, which are MSC certified. This shows that it cannot be too difficult to change the fish that they stock”, Flora and Steph argue.

We completely agree. We think that Anyfin Is Possible is an incredibly inspiring campaign, and goes to show how individual action and collective lobbying can drive real change to a problem as huge as overfishing. It starts with choosing what we put on our plates.

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