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Can’t eat money

There is an ancient Native American Indian Cree proverb which goes something like:

Only when the last tree has died
and the last river has been poisoned
and the last fish has been caught
will you realise that you can’t eat money

It’s actually probably one of the most misquoted proverb ever, although the generally gist remains the same. Most actually say “we” instead of “you” whereas other versions refer to “White Man”. I don’t know which is correct (probably the latter), but whatever the actual words, we seam to be getting closer to finding out how true the proverb really is.

The line (no pun intended) I’m referring to is:
and the last fish has been caught
as most people have surely heard the latest hype about overfishing generated by the film “The end of the line”. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to see the film myself yet, but based on the preview it’s something I would definitely like to see.

The film is based on the book by Charles Clover and is a documentary highlighting the problem of over fishing the worlds seas.

There are screenings of the films scheduled up to August, but there are only a few in each area.

Just watching the trailers and reading that and related websites has changed my opinion about the fish I eat and have decided to change the way I shop to reflect that. This is similar to making the choice to buy free-range or fair trade, but it’s the survival of fish that is at stake.

There are ways to buy fish that can make a real difference. This can be by choosing a fish from a source that is not at risk, ensuring that fish is purchased outside of the spawning seasons and by only buying fish caught using sustainable methods – such as pole and line instead of drawler nets.

I intended to implement this when I went shopping last week. I went to Tesco’s, but found very little fish marked up as sustainable sources. In particular there was no pole & line caught tinned tuna, and there was no indication of the fishing methods against most of the fish.Sainsbury’s faired much better having at least 2 brands of sustainable tinned tuna when I went, with Marks and Spencers and Waitrose also leading the way. This is also reflected in the Greenpeace supermarket tuna update.

Unfortunately Princes and John West appear to be ignoring these issues.

To win this battle needs consumers to vote with their wallet and choose sustainable fish. This is one issue which does have a solution that we can help contribute towards.

See the following links for more information:

The end of the line – website and trailer

Widget – find alternative fish products

The Marine Stewardship council