Chef calls for sea change in fishing laws
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Saturday 17 March 2012
The television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is urging people to bombard the Twitter accounts of EU fisheries ministers this weekend in the countdown to a crucial meeting in Brussels which could sink his campaign to ban the discarding of fish.
On Monday, the Council of Ministers will decide whether to back the plan by the EU Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, to phase out the practice, whereby trawlers which have exceeded their quotas throw dead fish back into the sea.
The ban, which Britain favours, would be implemented over the next four years as part of reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. But other states, believed to be France, Spain and Portugal, are opposed.
A draft agreement circulating before the meeting pays lip-service to ending discards, before adding that the ban as currently proposed is "unrealistic and too prescriptive".
Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall wants the 783,496 people across Europe who have backed his campaign at fishfight.net to pressure ministers. "For any clear-thinking voter, wasting prime fish on this scale is absolutely unacceptable," he said.
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