Join the Fish Fight!

You most likely know this already, but Hugh’s Fish Fight is back. The media storm surrounding the TV chef’s sustainable fishing campaigns has steadily been growing, and on Monday 25th February, fish-loving members of the public gathered en masse in front of the Houses of Parliament in London to show that we are concerned about the future of our seas.Image

If you recall, first time around Hugh and co. were battling for a halt to be put to the terrifying quantity of fresh fish being discarded on fishing vessels all over the world, due to their unmarketability. A recent breakthrough, which the Fish Fight undoubtedly contributed to, has meant that MEPs have banned the discarding of edible fish for stocks including herring and whiting from January of next year, with a ban for white fish stocks also agreed to begin in January 2016 (Guardian.co.uk, 2013).

This time round, the fish fighters are focusing on the creation of Marine Conservation Zones. A recent study which cost £8 million (of taxpayer cash, we might add!) stated that a network of MCZs around the UK was needed to help ensure the survival of our fish stocks for future generations. The network proposed included 127 MCZs. The government have stated they will consider 31- and fish fighters are not satisfied with this.

So Hugh led the march to Whitehall, Westminster on Monday 25th February, and I went along to rally with other passionate conservation people and show that we really do want the government to take the issue seriously and pledge to support the creation of these MCZs.

Even though it was a drizzly day in London, the air was electric and the turnout was fabulous. There was a carnival-esque atmosphere, with lots of people dressed up in funny costumes, waving banners, flags and cardboard fish they had brought. There were giant lobsters, Neptune, jelly fish, mermaids, sharks, manta rays and more, parading along waving their banners, and others proudly displaying their ‘127’ and ‘Fish Fight’ t-shirts. The turnout was really impressive! Organisations I saw included SeaLife, Marine Stewardship Council, Greenpeace, and angling groups amongst others. We trailed as a big group across from the London Eye over to Whitehall, and whilst passing over the bridge we could see more of us in boats on the Thames.

The community gathered in front of the Houses of Parliament where Hugh took to the stage and spoke about the cause, greeted by roars and cheers from the marchers. There were an estimated 2000 of us there on the day!

There are 31 days left to tell the government that we want more conservation zones. If this is a cause that you believe in, please sign the petition over at http://www.fishfight.net/. At the moment, over 11,000 signatures have been gathered. The most that DEFRA have seen for any one cause is 17,000- let’s get that number over and above the benchmark. If enough people sign, the government will have no choice but to listen to we who care about our seas!

To see the footage from Monday’s march and follow up on Hugh’s progress, tune in to Hugh’s Fish Fight on Channel 4 tonight at 9.00pm GMT.

For a blow-by-blow account of the march, see the Fish Fight’s Storify article at http://www.fishfight.net/fish-fight-live/.

For more information about sustainable fish consumption, visit fish2fork.com.

References

Guardian.co.uk, 2013. ‘EU fish discards deal welcomed by UK’. [Online] Accessible at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/27/eu-fish-discards-ban-welcomed.

African Astronaut Ants? BBC Africa with Sir David Attenborough

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Image from BBC.co.uk, Felicity Egerton

Just when you think you’re grown up, worldly-wise and pretty confident you know what an ant looks like- probably black, maybe red… But gleaming silver?

If you have been watching the most recent cinematic masterpiece on the box, ‘Africa’, you will know what I’m talking about- the Saharan silver ant (or Cataglyphis bombycina to the science buffs among us). Seemingly iron-clad armies of beasties that can withstand the scorching temperatures of the midday Saharan sun (easily reaching over 50 degrees celcius) by reflecting a high proportion of incoming solar radiation with their silver colouring- likened by Sir David Attenborough to astronomical space-suits. This evolutionary adaptation allows them to scurry out of their burrows when the heat is simply too much for any potential predators to cope with- leaving them free to scavenge for food. But even these hardy fellows can only cope with the temperatures for a maximum of about 10 minutes.

It’s not all about ants. The six part documentary has been giving us all an insight into the spectacular and astounding inventions that our ancestral continental home has conjured up over millennia. Black rhinoceri grunting and snuffling by a twilit lake, conversing and socialising in secret; African elephants parading along a tropical sandy beach; rolling dunes of the sandseas moving in super-quick time like ocean waves.

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Image provided by BBC Africa

It’s fantastic to see all of these natural phenomena on film. We’re going to see on Wednesday evening the final installment of the series, which is focused on the future of Africa. Because the continent spans across so many latitudes, it is home to the greatest range of biomes on Earth. Conserving these spectacular habitats is a priority for hundreds and thousands of conservationists across the world. If you want to be a part of conserving the future of Africa and some of the amazing creatures and habitats it is home to from the comfort of your home, Healthy Planet’s Conservation Community may be just the ticket.

The new online platform, which is launching very soon, allows you to pick a project and tailor your donations to fit you. That’s not all- you can then keep up to date with exactly what your donation is doing, who or what it is helping, and the progress your chosen progress is making with regular updates. So if you decide you want to help a project which specialises in ridding the Kenyan desert of illegal elephant traps set by ivory hunters, you could do just that. Or perhaps you’d like to help a small rural community on the banks of Lake Victoria harvest timber sustainably, in a way that will see them supplied for generations. Healthy Planet are continually growing their list of projects and you can get involved with the global conservation community.

Enjoy the final installment of Africa tomorrow- and let us know what you thought!

Useful Links

Learn about our conservation work at Richmond Park alongside Sir David Attenborough and our conservation partners Friends of Richmond Park here…

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Sir David Attenborough and the Healthy Planet Team at Richmond Park

Take a sneak peak at our Conservation Community online platform here…

Or if you fancy learning more about BBC Africa head to their homepage…

This blog was written by Admin & Comms intern Fiona King