Webbes Restaurant logo

Sussex by the Season ®

Webbe's go to Westminster...BIG FISH FIGHT

Webbe's go to Westminster...BIG FISH FIGHT

Webbe’s at Westminster with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall & Jamie Oliver for Big Fish Fight!

Webbe’s have been championing sustainable fish & our local fishermen for years and we’re delighted that celebrity chefs including Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver are taking up this important cause in a new campaigning TV series due to screen on Channel 4 in January called ‘Big Fish Fight’.

This week we went with Hastings fishermen Paul Joy and Graham Coglan to Westminster for the filming of Hugh FW’s ‘Big Fish Fight Barbecue’ to be included in the series. Over delicious Smoked Discard Cod Rarebit from the barbecue Hugh FW and Paul Joy asked Minister of Fisheries Richard Benyon, on camera, to help end the madness of discarding good fish.

The tasty barbecue cooked by Hugh FW and Jamie Oliver on the spot was entirely sourced from discarded fish that Hugh FW had ‘rescued’ and brought to London to make his point. It included Goujons of Fresh By-Catch, Crispy Fried Sprats (a long term speciality of Webbe’s), Lentil and Poached Dab Salad and Fishmeal Crostini.

Although Paul Joy and fellow sustainably certified, small boat fisherman, fish in an entirely environmentally friendly way, the government restricts them to a tiny proportion of the UK fish quotas and legally prevents them selling the adult fish they can’t avoid accidentally catching when fishing for unquotaed species thereby forcing them to waste good fish.

It is upsetting and completely unnecessary because the large boats have 96% of the quota but use only 40%. If the small artisanal boats which are 50% of the industry had even a small proportion of this unused quota they could make a livelihood and eliminate their discard. Large boats are also responsible for discarding 40 – 60% of their catch because it is less popular species, whereas Webbe’s and our fleet try to use everything and actively promote the lesser known species.

Our pleasant and easy to fulfil role at the filming was to make plenty of noise in support, watch Jamie and Hugh cook discarded seafood and then prove how tasty it was by eating it. None of which was a problem for us!

Another well-known Hastings figure also there was Sonny Elliott of Rock-a-nore Fisheries our brilliant fishmonger neighbour at Webbe’s Rock-a-nore Hastings. He had set up a stall of beautiful fish and was filmed talking with Jamie and Hugh. It was good to see Hastings MP Amber Rudd giving her support too.

 

Hugh FW also came to Hastings to film his fishing trip with Paul Joy so don’t miss the series when it airs in January. In the meantime please sign up to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s fish campaign & at www.fishfight.net and support Hastings Fleet by joining NUTFA National Under Ten Metre Boats Association at www.nutfa.org .

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall says:[Soft Break]"According to an EU paper in 2007, between 40% and 60% of all fish caught by trawls are being discarded. Experts agree that the figure is at least as bad now as it was then. (We have settled on the figure of half, which many believe is conservative).

Discarding is not limited to the North Sea, it’s a massive problem throughout EU waters. Some of these discards are undersized fish, and some of them are species for which there is currently little market. But much of it is "over-quota” fish: prime cod, haddock, coley, whiting, plaice, and other major food species, for which the fishermen have run out of quota. [Soft Break][Soft Break]Fish are discarded because to land them is illegal. In other words the rules that were set up to protect fish stocks are now in danger of harming stocks.

The European Common Fisheries Policy is due to be reformed in the coming months. The Fish Fight campaign aims to influence this reform. Please sign up to the campaign at www.fishfight.net , by doing so you will be writing directly to the policy makers in Europe. And you will help to ensure that a reformed CFP has the elimination of discards as a primary objective.

Thank you so much for your support.

Please spread the word!