Herring festival set to launch fish campaign

A CAMPAIGN to make Suffolk the first Sustainable Fish County will kick off at a special ceremony during the Suffolk Herring Festival this weekend.

Festival organiser Jack Rosenthal will be the first to sign the Suffolk Sustainable Fish County Pledge at the event, which takes place tomorrow and Sunday.

Event organisers want to encourage people to eat more fish – but from sustainable sources – and to show that Suffolk, with its tradition of caring for the North Sea Fisheries, can become the first Sustainable Fish County.

“That’s why we are asking Suffolk’s shops, fish suppliers, restaurants, caterers, schools, colleges and tourist attractions to sign the Suffolk Sustainable Fish County Pledge, and asking engaged citizens to support the campaign by their buying power and encouragement,” said Mr Rosenthal, owner of Middleton Farmshop, near Leiston, which is hosting the event.

Campaigners are calling on people in the county, including retailers and restaurateurs which have not already done so, to adopt the sustainability policy drawn up by the UK’s leading marine conservation groups.

In practice, this means that caterers must exclude species rated as “at risk” by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), promote Marine Stewardship Council certified fish and fish rated as “fish to eat” by the MCS, and work with suppliers to help improve the sustainability of other fish that they serve. Let’s make Suffolk the first county where individuals and businesses build a market for sustainable fish, supporting fishing communities and contributing to the protection of our precious marine resources,” said Mr Rosenthal.

“Every year, Suffolk waits for herring, cod, sole and sprats to arrive on our coast. If we want them to keep coming we have to act now to stop the situation in the North Sea getting any worse. That’s why I’m signing the pledge.”

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The Suffolk Sustainable Fish County Campaign’s aim is to make the county the first ever sustainable fish county, following London’s campaign to help the London 2012 Games organisers to adopt a sustainable fish policy.

Those who sign up to the Suffolk Sustainable Fish County pledge promise to take the appropriate steps to buy sustainable seafood, as well as to protect precious marine environments, fish stocks, and good fishing livelihoods.

They also agree, among other things, to tell suppliers or caterer to remove endangered species from menus and catering – those rated as ‘fish to avoid’ by the Marine Conservation Society, spread the message about sustainable fishing, consider investing in Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody certification to communicate the sustainability of MSC-certified seafood to customers and support positive change for fish, fisheries and marine resources;

For more information see www.suffolkherringfestival.net.