Hugh's Fish Fight
About the Show
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall leaves the comfort of River Cottage to change the way we fish, both here and abroad
Series 1 Summary
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall leaves the comfort of River Cottage to examine Britain's fishing industry. He asks why so much fish is thrown back into the sea dead, why so little of the UK catch is sold here, and also explores the supermarket claims about the fish they sell.
So great is the impending fish crisis that scientists believe this food source may become non-existent for future generations.
Hugh asks how much fish is left in the sea and discovers which fish should be eaten, and which should be left alone to replenish.
Hugh focuses on the three species most widely consumed in the UK: cod, salmon and tuna. Armed with the relevant information he takes his fish fight to the politicians, the general public and the supermarkets.
Hugh heads out into the North Sea in search of cod and to campaign against the waste of precious food resources.
Three years ago, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall galvanised public opinion when he launched his initiative to create greater awareness about chickens. Now Hugh sets out to understand what is happening to Britain's fishing industry.
It is well known there is a problem in the oceans. Hugh wants to find out what is going on at the industrial end of our fisheries. And what he finds is that its not just bad - its mad. What Hugh discovers is that up to half the fish being caught in the North Sea is being thrown back into the sea dead, because of what he believes are crazy EU rules.
Hugh launches his most ambitious campaign yet, to try and put an end to this shameful practice. It's a fight which will take to some dark and unexpected places - not least the corridors of power in Brussels.
In an effort to encourage the nation to eat different kinds of fish, and so relieve the pressure on the cod, tuna and salmon, Hugh and his Head Chef Tim launch an audacious campaign to revolutionise the chippy.
Hugh's fish fight goes global as he starts to investigate the problems with tinned tuna, before crossing swords with his old adversary, Tesco.
After finding out that sharks, turtles and rays get caught up in the purse seine nets which supply the majority of tuna to the UK supermarkets, Hugh heads to the Maldives in search of an alternative, and finds one of the most pristine, and well-protected marine environments on the planet; and a sustainable, ethical, source of tinned tuna, caught by traditional pole and line methods.
Meanwhile, some friends from Greenpeace launch their own investigation into the source of Tesco's tuna. And what they find out in Ghana gives Hugh all the evidence he needs to call for a much anticipated meeting with his old friends at the supermarket.
Hugh's fish fight takes him to Scotland, to meet with the largest farmed salmon producing company in the world, which is a case of blood, sweat and salmon farming. He then heads to Brussels to try to knock some sense into the bureaucrats about the scandal of discards.
In order to add some urgency to his campaign, Hugh launches a website www.fishfight.net, which goes viral, and picks up 24 000 supporters in just 24 hours. Fishermen from all over the country descend on Westminster to add their voices to the protest, which ends with a rallying cry to all of us to try to help sort out the mess our fisheries are in.
Hugh believes we all need to try and eat different types of fish, to relieve some of the pressure on cod, tuna and salmon, and we need to add OUR voices to the campaign to stop discards.
Six months after launching his hugely influential campaign to change the way we fish, Hugh Fearnley-Whittngstall returns to bring the story up to date.
Six months ago Hugh Fearnley-Whittngstall left the comfort of River Cottage behind and went on a journey to find out what was really going on at the industrial end of our fisheries. What he found was that things are not just bad ... but mad. Half the fish caught in the North Sea is thrown back into the sea, dead, because of crazy EU laws.
So he launched a campaign to try to change those laws... And the response from the public was incredible. Over 700,000 people have now signed the fish fight petition, and so many people emailed their MPs to protest about discards that they forced a debate in Parliament.
As a direct result of Hugh's campaign, major policy changes are being considered. The British Government has decided to fund a six month study into what would happen if a discard ban was introduced. In July the European Commission published their proposals for a new Common Fisheries Policy , including recommendations for a discard ban.
But that doesn't mean that the law will actually change. There is another 18 months to go before the new Common Fisheries Policy becomes law, which is why Hugh went back to Brussels to launch the Fish Fight campaign in another 11 languages and countries. The pressure he generates across Europe could be the difference between success and failure, long term sustainable fisheries or more years of pointless waste.
And its not just discards. Fish Fight also looked at how tinned tuna is caught, and challenged some of the major retailers and suppliers to stop using fishing methods that lead to high levels of by-catch of sharks, turtles and rays. As direct result of the pressure from Fish Fight, Tesco, Princes, Morrisons, Asda and John West, agreed to change their fishing methods over the next few years.
Fish Fight follow up tells these and other stories, and encourages the public to keep thinking differently about fish, to try to eat new species, and to keep Fish Fighting!
Hugh's Fish Fight synopsis
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall leaves the comfort of River Cottage to change the way we fish, both here and abroadEpisode Guide >