Very few people give any thought to the fact that fish are the only truly wild item you can buy in a supermarket. But the startling truth is that most of the species on a supermarket fish counter haven’t been fed, reared or nurtured in any way — they are as wild as the birds in your garden.
So imagine how quickly we could wipe out all familiar bird species if we were to sling nets up between trees and buildings? And, don’t forget that these nets wouldn’t just catch one species at a time — they would catch whichever birds were unlucky enough to fly into them.
Yet everyday, more than 200 countries in the world drop nets and lines into the sea to catch wild fish with little thought for how quickly these fish stocks could collapse.
All too often the fish that are hunted the most are the fish that supermarkets want to sell the most. In fact, big retailers have an enormous role in shaping the marine environment purely by deciding what fish to include in hundreds of outlets every day.
In the UK, 80% of the fish purchased from supermarkets is either tuna, salmon, cod, haddock or prawns. Of course, other fish counter mainstays are vulnerable species including swordfish, monkfish, skates and rays.
Thanks to Bite-Back’s supermarket campaign it is now no longer possible to buy shark or marlin in any supermarket.
But now we need to ‘buy time’ for these other species so that stocks can recover and, we think, the best way to achieve this is to encourage the same retailers put conservation before commerce and stop selling vulnerable fish in the first place.
If you agree and you’d like to put pressure on your supermarket to end the sale of threatened fish, then take a look at Bite-Back’s supermarket campaign page. It features a table that lists six species that are hugely vulnerable to overfishing and identifies which supermarkets are selling them. By simply clicking on the supermarket name in the table and adding your email details you can send off a pre-scripted, intelligent and polite message to the headquarters of that retailer saying you want them to end the sale of these identified fish for good.
It takes less than 60 seconds to do it and we’ve proved that it has worked for sharks and marlin. Let’s do it for the rest of these fragile fish species.