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"People, if they can, want to buy locally caught fish, not just locally sourced, which could mean it comes from anywhere. Many people also want to know that the fish were caught in ways that do not harm the environment. I genuinely believe that the principles behind this initiative, which are very simple, can help start to make a positive change for the coast environment and inshore fisheries and benefit those selling such fish. I would like to develop it in partnership with fishers, fishmongers and restaurants in particular, so please get in touch and give me your feedback and support. I am a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and created 'Coast Friendly' and have a fundamental belief in being sustainable, but also realistic"
Peter Currell CEnv MCIEEM
What is 'Coast Friendly' ?
Coast Friendly is a 'promise' scheme aimed at individual local fishermen, fish suppliers and restaurants that catch or sell fish caught locally and by methods that are 'coast friendly'. It specifically targets small coastal fishing boats (under 10 metres) that leave and return on the same day and do not beam or pair trawl. It is soon to be trialled initially in Sussex.
The larger trawlers and dredging boats are subject to different rules and they have traditionally been associated with some of the fisheries problems around the world. Their industrial scale of operation is distinctly different from the small inshore vessels targetted by this initiative. But, some of these larger boats still fish in our inshore waters and this needs addressing with better rules.
Why do we need a 'Coast Friendly' Scheme?
The issues associated with identifying sustainable fish are complex and sometimes difficult to explain. While many people agree there is a need to think more carefully about which fish we buy, there is differing and sometimes conflicting advice about what is most sustainable. Fishing communities want to carry on fishing and so alternatives to some existing fishing practices need to be adopted and advice to buyers simplified. This initiative seeks to support this latter point.
About the local fishing industry
The Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) provides an overview - link
What fish is sustainable?
Based on the evidence available and in combination with existing fisheries rules, it would seem that the most sustainable fish, are those caught from smaller local inshore fisheries or from local Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) approved fisheries. Therefore the basic principles to underpin this initiative are 'local' and from 'small day boats'. This is easy to understand and explain to people and relatively easy to monitor. Many people think that all trawling is bad for the environment, but in reality this is mainly in relation to otter, beam and pair trawling. There will always be a need for larger fishing vessels and indeed trawlers such as beam trawlers, to ensure consistent and quantity supplies of fish for restaurants and fishmongers since small boats are not able to get out to sea in bad weather. Coast Friendly does not want to disengage with or cause offence to these larger trawler operators, but simply to reward those less damaging to the coast environment.
Not all trawling is damaging, for example, the Hastings sole trawl fishery utilises a light trawl, less damaging than others as do most smaller day boats that trawl along the Sussex coast. The key point behind the Coast Friendly initiaitve, is that those smaller day boats will almost certainly be less damaging to the overall sea environment and they should be recognised and rewarded as such. A statement (from a local fisher) on under 10 metre trawlers can be found at the following link and shown below.
Under ten metre trawling activity by boats that leave and return on the same day can be relatively environmentally friendly. Light fishing gear is necessary as engine power is limited and this damages much less of the non-target species and disturbs less of the seabed than larger beam trawlers. With nets hauled in regularly and with smaller loads of fish, much of the unwanted fish and shellfish can be returned alive. The caught fish are gutted quickly and so stay fresh longer (dead fish with guts start to decay more quickly).
So it is suggested that this type of fishing (scale and method) should be included to be supported by the 'Coast Friendly' Scheme and a clear distinction is made between this type of fishing and otter, beam and pair trawling by boats over 10 metres long that are often out to sea for many days at a time and may well be less friendly to the coast environment.
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) labelled fish and restaurants are well respected as sustainable, but these are not necessarily local and there are some concerns about the scheme, but hopefully these will be resolved - Times Online article
Find out more on this subject at Goodfish
From a recent news item the following was quoted ' A total of 158 groups from 17 EU member states have signed the declaration ahead of a European Parliament hearing tomorrow on how the proposed CFP reform will affect artisanal fishers. Rally organisers say the majority of EU fishers are coastal and artisanal and often work in a less intensive manner, using a range of seasonally diverse fishing methods with a relatively low impact on the marine environment while contributing significantly to the coastal and regional economy.
“The new CFP must stop overfishing and reward those who fish in more environmentally and socially responsible ways with preferential access to fish resources,” said Jerry Percy of the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA) and OCEAN2012.'
This statement almost sums up what Coast Friendly is all about!
Large fishing boats moored up at Shoreham Harbour during rough weather
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