Digital guide shows 75 fish, 55 of which have EU minimum legal size
Oceana calls for fish to be caught and sold at reproduction size or bigger
Spanish Hollywood actor Miguel Angel Silvestre has launched a new digital guide to help consumers avoid buying and eating “baby” fish. The guide, developed by marine conservation organisation Oceana, allows shoppers to check if the fish they have bought has a minimum legal size to be caught and if the length matches the fish's reproduction size. The consumer awareness campaign ultimately seeks to change the existing EU regulation that allows for the fishing and selling of “baby” fish.
Currently, only 55 types of fish in the European Union (EU) have minimum legal sizes. For many of these fish, the minimum catch sizes are smaller than the size at which the fish can reproduce. This is the case for popular favourites such as cod, hake, haddock, red mullet, Norway lobster and swordfish. For many others, including monkfish and blue whiting, the EU has not set a minimum size.
“Overfishing has led to more and more ‘baby’ fish being caught to face demand. All fish in the EU should have a minimum size that matches its reproduction size or bigger. It makes both economic and environmental sense to allow ‘baby’ fish to grow and reproduce so that there are more fish for both consumers and fishermen in the long run”, said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe.
In Europe alone, 64% of fish stocks are overfished. This means that fish populations are caught at a faster rate than what the fish can naturally reproduce, meaning there are fewer and fewer fish in the sea and on our dinner tables. To stop the overfishing of baby fish, minimum sizes should be established for all fish caught and sold in the EU and catch limits should be set according to scientific advice. A scientific study commissioned by Oceana found that if these fisheries management measures were enforced and followed, we could catch almost 60% more fish, sustainably, within 10 years.
Silvestre, who launched Oceana’s Fish Size Matters campaign and who is currently cast in US drama Sense8 and set to star in Netflix’s hugely popular crime drama, Narcos, said: “We have to change the way we connect with the sea and with the planet in general. If we take care of them then we’ll all be winners”.