The Prince of Wales today came together with fishermen from across Britain to lead action in ensuring a future for the country’s fishing communities.
In a keynote speech The Prince of Wales praised the work of British fishermen in taking steps to reduce the impact of their industry on the marine environment.
The Prince was speaking at the closing session of a three day workshop - “Fishing into the Future” - in the harbour town of Brixham, Devon, which was jointly hosted by The Prince’s International Sustainability Unit and industry body SeaFish.
“Fishing into the Future” is the first UK-wide workshop of its kind, bringing together fishermen and representatives from across the industry with fisheries scientists, retailers, policy-makers and conservation groups, to address the challenge of preserving Britain’s fish stocks whilst sustaining fishermen’s livelihoods.
The workshop aims to give British fishermen a voice and provide an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the debate on sustainable fishing. Fishermen were able to consider the best ways to address issues critical to the future of their industry, not only through expert advice but also through exchanging experiences with each other, overseas fishermen, and those from other parts of the industry. It is hoped “Fishing into the Future” will enable new partnerships to be forged and present opportunities to highlight leadership and best practice.
The workshop, which ran from Sunday 14th to Tuesday 16th July, forms part of the ISU’s Marine Programme, which The Prince of Wales formally launched in February 2012. The Marine Programme aims to build global consensus on how to make the transition to sustainably managed fisheries.
During his speech today, The Prince welcomed the “Fishing into the Future” initiative and talked about why he believes the industry has reason to be hopeful about the future: “Fishing, far from being as some appear to have assumed, an industry that is sailing into the sunset, is, in fact, increasingly witnessing hints of a new dawn.”
His Royal Highness also praised the work that fishermen are already doing, saying: “It is encouraging that all over the U.K. fishermen are taking action and setting an excellent example. The fact that nearly half of the U.K. catch has been certified as sustainable illustrates just how committed our fishing industry is. The move towards more durable fishing practices is happening not just because of campaigns and regulations, but because the results are economically rewarding as well as being ecologically beneficial; they make fishing more profitable.”
The Prince cited example of North Sea cod, which is showing encouraging signs of stock recovery. “Because of collaborative efforts, this iconic species could soon be providing more fine food with less worry about stocks.”
Notes to editors:
Established by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in January 2010, The Prince’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU) is working to facilitate consensus on how to resolve some of the key environmental challenges facing the world, specifically those concerning food security, ecosystem resilience and the depletion of natural capital. The ISU currently has three work programmes covering tropical rainforests, agriculture and marine fisheries.