Launched around the Mediterranean this week, this colourful and appealing guide targets Mediterranean consumers, encouraging them to support sustainable seafood which has been caught in a way that preserves fish stocks and the people who depend on them. With simple and attractive information about seafood products, and recipes showcasing WWF-recommended species, the guide helps the person in the street understand what is at stake when they buy fish and seafood and how they can make a difference. The guide is the work of all Mediterranean WWF offices under the coordination of WWF Mediterranean, in the framework of the Fish Forward project led by WWF Austria. It is published online and in print in 9 Mediterranean languages (Arabic, Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, Turkish). The first countries to launch the guide are Croatia, Portugal and Spain.
Stories beneath our plates
The WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative has launched a communications campaign to promote the new guide and to connect to Mediterranean consumers. A wave of public events in markets and restaurants all around the Mediterranean will present the guide to media, business and consumers. This will be followed by a social media campaign telling the stories that are hidden beneath our plates, showing the impact of our choices on fish and fishermen and giving tips to consumers. The campaign will also include a sustainable seafood recipe contest on Instagram.
What is Fish Forward?Fish Forward is a project launched by WWF, and co-financed by the EU, for more environmental, social and economic sustainability in fish and seafood consumption. For the first time 11 European countries are working together to raise awareness about sustainable seafood and its impact on poverty reduction in developing countries. Countries involved in the Fish Forward project: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.
WWF Greece organized a very successful “Restaurant Fishweek” in June, an initiative in cooperation with 21 well known seafood restaurants in Athens, to raise awareness on sustainable seafood. For 12 days thousands of people tasted both traditional and innovative fish recipes, all prepared according to WWF’s recommendations on sustainable seafood. With imaginative new recipes making use of species of low commercial value, WWF demonstrated that chefs can play an important role in our efforts to protect the marine environment.
© Travolta Athens
… overfishing. Empty oceans put the livelihoods of more than 800 million people, who depend on fish for food and income, at risk. Most of them live in developing countries. WWF’s Ugly campaign takes a provocative approach to the global exploitation of marine resources to point out the importance of buying seafood responsibly. The campaign’s quest is to spread one message across Europe – the biggest market and importer of seafood worldwide: it’s up to all of us to support oceans and the people who depend on them, by choosing sustainable fish. Find out more at www.fishforward.eu
© WWF Mediterranean
The campaign video, broadcast at airports, subway stations, exhibitions and on TV across 11 countries, as well as related online and PR activities, target more than 300 million European consumers. About 250 million contacts have been achieved so far.
Pedro Lima, actor and ambassador of WWF in Portugal, participated in WWF's campaign in partnership with the Oceanario in Lisbon, the biggest acquarium in Europe. Speaking at an event in July, Pedro higlighted the huge reach of WWF's sustainable seafood campaign. “As a consumer, surfer, father of five and as a celebrity I am happy to add my voice to WWF’s messages about the responsibility of choosing wisely the fish we eat” said Pedro. With “Whale“, a WWF sustainable seafood installation at Lisbon’s Oceanario this summer, WWF Mediterranean reached thousands of consumers. Already visited by 15,000 people at Milan Expo, the Whale reached around 50,000 people at its stop in Barcelona, before being visited by around 600,000 people in Lisbon.
A picture speaks a thousand words, as street artists in Zagreb demonstrated last month when they decided to support Fish Forward with their art. Their fresh and vibrant graffiti in one of Zagreb's main squares attracted a lot of attention. "We artists can contribute to saving marine species through what we do. This is our way of sending important messages and everyone who encounters our art immediately know what we want it to say about giving fish a chance" declared Boris Bare, renowned street artist.
Project Medfish is an initiative promoting more sustainable fishing in the Mediterranean. Following an analysis of 100 Mediterranean fisheries, WWF with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has announced 7 French and 7 Spanish fisheries selected to undergo MSC pre-assessment. As part of the process, independent certifiers and local experts will evaluate the 14 fisheries using the MSC Fisheries Standard as a benchmarking tool. These fisheries will use the resulting scores to develop action plans to improve their sustainability.
"With over 93% of fish stocks being fished at or beyond sustainable limits, it is key to achieve sustainable fisheries in the Mediterranean. Fishing is one of the most important activities along the Mediterranean coastline. We need to address the state of these stocks: it’s a matter of securing the livelihoods and incomes of thousands of people."
Giuseppe di Carlo, Director WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative
The MSC and WWF invite anyone with an interest in fisheries management in the Mediterranean to get involved in the project by emailing email@example.com.
In Turkey, groupers have been under pressure from illegal fishing for many years. Following a proposal from WWF-Turkey the government recently introduced a ban on fishing, spear fishing, purchase and sale of Epinephelus marginatus and Epinephelus aeneus (valid to 2020). The Mediterranean sub-population of Epinephelus marginatus is listed as “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List. It is also vital to preserve grouper habitats through the establishment of a network of effective MPAs and the introduction of sustainable fishing practices. WWF Turkey is working in partnership with many stakeholders to help stop illegal fishing in MPAs by creating alternative income opportunities. For more on groupers see WWF Turkey's video.
Interview: varying the fish we choose
You say that varying the fish we choose is good for the fisheries sector, but how?
When we put a value on species that are already fished but have no commercial value we are creating new business and building demand for fish that are normally discarded by fishermen or are sold at ridiculous prices. We are raising awareness about the potential use of fish that can be cooked and eaten, and helping to create new and diverse choices.
Are there are enough species for people to diversify consumption as suggested?
Yes, there are. We once had a varied fish diet in the Mediterranean and today for various reasons – such as lack of time to cook – we always choose the same species. Our Mediterranean artisanal fishing brings in lots of different species, but then consumers always choose the same ones. For example, mackerel or horse mackerel have a very low commercial value and are even sold as fish meal. But they are delicious. If consumers began to choose this fish their commercial value would increase and that profit would go to the fishermen.
What about schools, are there activities especially for children?
Yes, we are still finalizing this part of the project and are planning activities. We would like to create a pilot project for school canteens to promote sustainable seafood consumption. Through the involvement of children we could spread the message to parents and the school community.