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

Baltic Sea 2020, The Oak Foundation and the Waterloo Foundation have agreed to fund the roll-out of the Fish Fight campaign into mainland Europe, especially targeting Germany, France, Spain and Poland.

Lead in the UK by the chef and food journalist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the Fish Fight campaign aims to end the crazy practice of discarding. EU laws mean that half the fish caught in some European fisheries are thrown away dead. So far 675,000 people in the UK have signed a petition addressed to Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki and all MEPs demanding that discarding be stopped. KEO FILMS, who are behind the campaign, hope to double those numbers by the end of the year.

The timing is crucial. The EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is currently being reformed. This reform happens every 10 years, and will be finalized at the end of 2012. 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 herself, “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 is to demonstrate that support, by raising public awareness and using an online petition to influence decision makers in Europe.

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 state that fisherman are not allowed to land this fish. It must be thrown back to the sea. It is a waste of the sea’s valuable resources that upset a lot of people, and it has to be stopped.

"Baltic Sea 2020 has worked for a long time to influence the EU fisheries ministers to ban discards. Through the Fish Fight campaign we hope to raise the public awareness and to provide politicians with the necessary tools and backing to be able to make bold decisions on the future Common Fisheries Policy.  Regional and environmental considerations must be taken when the new policy is written,” says Conrad Stralka Executive Director Baltic Sea 2020.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Campaigner and Chef and leader of the Fish Fight Campaign, said “We are delighted with the amount of public support that the Fish Fight campaign has generated in the UK … but we must not stop here. If we really want to influence EU policy, we need support from all across continental Europe. It is wonderful news that funding has been made available to us to help make this happen. I am more determined than ever to make sure that the shameful practice of discarding perfectly good fish is ended.”

The Fish Fight campaign (www.fishfight.net) consists of TV shows to be shown on national television stations, viral videos that will be spread through social media, web pages in every major European language and facebook and twitter accounts. The Fish Fight campaign began in January 2011 in United Kingdom, where well-known and dedicated chefs like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay have helped to generate publicity for the campaign.

About KEO Films
Keo Films is an independent television production company in London which has produced over 250 hours of engaging, challenging and entertaining programmes for terrestrial and satellite channels all over the world.