Fish fight: Financial support granted to take the Fish Fight campaign into Continental Europe

Lead in the UK by the chef and food journalist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the Fish Fight campaign aims to end the discard of fish. The campaign engaged chefs and celebrities all over the world and launched films, websites, events and social media activities. In total the Fish Fight campaign gain over 800,000 signatures. The campaign ended when the new Common Fisheries Policy was decided and is considered one of the most important medial actors for the fundamental changes that now are incorporated into the policy. Click here for the campaign website.

The EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is being reformed every ten year and in 2012 a new CFP was negotiated by the European parliament and the EU-member states. A reformed CFP has the potential to significantly and permanently improve the environmental and economic impact of all European fisheries, including the Baltic Sea. Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki said: “We do need a lot of public support if we want to change and improve the European Fisheries Policy.” The objective of the Fish Fight Campaign was to demonstrate that support, by raising public awareness and using an online petition, can influence decision makers in Europe.

In January 2011 the Fish Fight campaign was launched in Great Britain, with the aim to end discard within the EU. Discard of fish is when a fisherman catches more than his allowed quota, or the wrong kind of fish (so called by-catch). EU laws (before the negotiations in 2012) state that fisherman are not allowed to land this fish. It must be thrown back to the sea. This has led to discard levels of up to 1.7 million tonnes annually.

The campaign received nearly 870,000 signatures and dedicated chefs including Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver. Over time, the campaign was expanded to a total of 11 countries on the European continent especially targeting Germany, France, Spain and Poland. BalticSea2020 has supported the expansion of the campaign and today the Fish fight webpage is in 12 European languages with recorded elements that have been broadcasted on several national television channels. The campaign has also been active on Facebook and Twitter.

The petition was submitted to the EU Commissioner Maria Damanki.
The new Common Fisheries Policy will apply from January 2014.

Short film by Joakim Odelberg (Leofilm)
When Joakim Odelberg, underwater cameraman, was on Koh Lanta in Thailand, he discovered that many restaurants serve the now endangered tuna. Odelberg chose to inform restaurant owners about the situation of the tuna and also took the opportunity to talk about Hugh's Fish Fights important work for sustainable fishing. In the film, we meet some of the restaurant owners, who after Odelbergs visit chose to make a difference. Watch the film here.


Project status

Start: 2011-05-01
End: 2013-06-31


Project manager

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall



2014-03-01 - Website
The Fish fight campaign website (New)
2013-09-20 - Report
Fish Fight, final report Phase 2
2012-08-24 - Report
Fish Fight. final report Phase 1
2011-07-08 - Press release
Financial support granted to take the Fish Fight campaign into Continental Europe


Conrad Stralka