Speaking to This Morning, fisherwoman Ashley Mullenger from Norfolk called for “more coverage” of responsible and small scale fishing. Her comments come following the release of a new documentary called Seaspiracy which calls for the end of the fishing industry and pours doubt on the idea that fishing can ever be sustainable. The film has been a worldwide sensation with backing from celebrities but small fishing groups have argued the film is misleading as it does not consider the sustainability of small scale fishing operations.
Ashley Mullenger said: “Ultimately I think the fish that we are eating is brought to us in the most part by supermarkets and they’re only going to stock what’s in demand.
“Ultimately they’re deciding the fish that we are eating.”
But she went on to say she would like to see small fishing boats have “more of a commercial market” in Britain.
Ms Mullenger said: “At the moment it’s very difficult for the smaller boats for their products to end up in the big retailers.”
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But she went on to add how it is crucial that smaller-scale fishing gets “more coverage” to show they are “being more responsible in what they catch” compared to the commercial fishing vessels depicted in the film.
The fisherwoman stressed: “There is some great work being done by small scale retailers online who are supporting day boats who are actively fishing in responsible methods.”
She then invited the director of Seaspiracy Ali Tabrizi, who is originally from Kent, to come aboard a small fishing boat to see that small scale fishing can be sustainable, an aspect of the industry that many critics argue was not fairly represented in the film.
Mr Tabrizi replied: “Yes, I’m up for it. While making the documentary there was a deafening silence trying to hear back from the fishing industry. Time and time again we were trying to reach out and getting shut down so this is a great thing and I’m glad to hear it so definitely.”
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Criticism of the film also came from major fishing bodies and statisticians who question a number of major claims made in the film.
A spokesperson for the Marine Stewardship Council said that the film drew attention to “known problems” but there were several “misleading claims” including that there is no such thing as sustainable fishing.
The spokesman added: “Some of the known problems that the film highlights – bycatch, overfishing and destruction of marine ecosystems – are precisely the issues the MSC certification process is designed to address.”
While criticism of the film also came from an author of a 2006 study that originally claimed “the ocean will be empty by 2048” a stat mentioned in the documentary, however since this prediction was made the author has dispelled it as wrong.