Campaigners battle the currents of fish depletion


Nearly a third of the world’s commercial fisheries have collapsed according to the World Wildlife Fund giving rise to a number of global campaigns to save our fishes’ future. And it’s not only the fish that are suffering. Those involved in the industry are subject to many human rights abuses according to claims by Greenpeace. The NGO states more than half the working fishing population are subjected to forced labour.
On the supply side governments and producers have responded to the waves of protest in different ways producing an array of symbols and labels that aim to help consumers understand the provenance and methods used to obtain the fish they buy.
Tuna – one of the world’s most commercially valuable fish – is among the most high profile examples. The “dolphin friendly” label originated in the 1990s when consumers were horrified to hear modern day tuna fishing methods largely included the mass destruction of many other fish and marine wildlife.
More recently consumer awareness about pole and line caught tuna, the method which virtually eliminates the catching of other marine animals, is growing.
Global brands like John West declared it would make its tuna 100% sustainably caught by 2016. No wonder a media storm ensued this month when a Greenpeace study revealed the company was only 2% towards this target.
Princes, another huge brand, promised consumers they would be 100% sustainable by now but have only managed to source 25% of their tuna stocks sustainably.
This might suggest that there is a problem locating sustainable fish from the supplier point of view but the same Greenpeace study revealed by contrast that all the major UK supermarkets use 100% sustainably caught tuna in their own brand tins.
Two thoughts occur from these revelations. As a producer John West and its owner Thai Union need to show they are aware of what customers want and supply it, otherwise it will lose out. The newspaper articles in the wake of these revelations convey huge disappointment and negativity towards the brand. A large company like this should take a lead and a responsibility to help change this rather than moving the goal posts. Here is the perfect opportunity to better work with Greenpeace to find a way of reaching the target.
The second point is about the role social media plays in the coverage of such issues and how all brands needs to be aware of managing their profiles in an open and transparent way. Consumers are quick to voice their concerns now and John West needs to be proactive about its targets and show how it is trying to influence the market more to encourage and support more of us buying pole and line caught fish.

photo credit: Canva

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Jane Milton

Food industry expert Jane Milton has been in the business for more than 30 years and has the inside track on all things food!

In her podcast, Jane takes you behind the scenes of the food business and introduces you to her incredible network of producers, entrepreneurs and
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Let Me Introduce You with Jane Milton

Jane Milton
Let Me Introduce You To Francis Gimblett, author of the Gimblett's Guide to The Best of British Cheese, and Co-Owner of Taste of the Vine, an Interactive Food and Drink Events Business. ,
byJane Milton

Let Me Introduce You to Francis Gimblett, Author of Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheeses, and co Owner of Taste of the Vine, an interactive food and drink event company.

Francis and I met in Spring 2021 when I joined one of his monthly Friday evening meet the cheesemaker tasting sessions. I learned so much and loved meeting the cheesemakers. I told other people and very quickly was joined on screen by 10-12 friends each month ….

My copy of Francis book , Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheeses has become very well thumbed and through it i have tracked down cheesemakers around the UK and even found a cheesemaking course in Tottenham, London inspired by him.

He is a great story teller so i know you will enjoy hearing about :

  • his journey in food and drink
  • people who have inspired or encouraged him
  • his French mother’s cooking and how that added to his food journey
  • how he has for many years, resisted repitition and always desired change, t learn or to reinvent things BUT
  • how possibly now after almost 2 years of constant change, he my just be happy for a little more predictability for a while
  • we talk about work life balance and partnering in business with his wife
  • about the importance of understanding your P&L and planning for your business right from Day 1
  • we also get a hint or two about his next taste adventure….

I cannot wait

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