There are problems with the fishing industry that need fixing, but the small boats and fishing methods of inshore day fishermen around our coasts are less damaging to the environment than most others in that they do not significantly disturb the sea bed. They mostly use low impact methods of catching fish that are efficient in the use of fuel and by selling locally have reduced 'food miles'. There are still some issues around bycatch (unwanted fish and crabs caught in nets) so, we need to find ways to support them and at the same time encourage them to become more sustainable in terms of fisheries. We also need to leave some areas left to more natural processes.
The small scale inshore fishermen are part of the local community and need your support and help to seek out their fish. New rules might also be required to remove larger and more damaging fishing boats and methods from the inshore area to enhance the local fisheries. If we do this, we might enhance the local economy, our coastal wildlife and local fish stocks.
There will always be a need for larger fishing vessels such as beam trawlers, to ensure consistent and quantity supplies of fish for restaurants and fishmongers. Crucially though, new rules and less damaging equipment are needed to better protect the environment and fish stocks from their industrial scale capabilities and potential to damage the sea bed. Until this situation is improved, we should, where possible seek out Sussex Inshore Fish or local to where you live, caught by small day boats and / or MSC labelled fish. More ideas for you are found throughout this web site.
The small-scale inshore fishermen and marine wildlife in Sussex and other local areas could be supported directly by new rules that establish better trawling / netting controls in the first 6 to 12 miles out to sea. With the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, recently established Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities, the Marine Management Organisation and the development of Marine Protected Areas, there are now opportunities to make a difference. We need to reduce the impact of the fishing industry in some areas to support a more natural and diverse seabed habitat that can better support wildlife and productive long-term commercial fish stocks. You can do your bit by supporting campaigns for change and ideas to widen the appeal of more species of fish to reduce the pressure on threatened stocks, such as cod, tuna etc - Link to this page.