Monday 14 October 2019

Responsibility and leadership required


TO ALL those who make a living or enjoy a financial contribution from the bounty of our seas and oceans, please remember you do not own the resource, it belongs to all of us.

Conveniently forgotten, or maybe just not considered, by commercial fishermen, politicians, civil servants, factory owners, wholesalers, fish farmers, fishmongers, restaurateurs, and large multiples, the marine environment is a major element of my life and tens of thousands of others too.

As a provider of quality nutrition and a place for recreation, the ocean, especially a healthy ocean, is arguably our most important resource, yet we treat it abysmally.

I would have thought that in the 21st century with all our experience we would now be exploiting the finite resource which is our marine environment sustainabilitly.

That those in particular with most to lose would be making sure that their businesses would still be trading in 10, 20, 30 years' time, by demanding proper management of our inshore and deep water fish and shellfish stocks.

Instead what appears to be indifference, plain ignorance, or just chasing the last buck seems to be the stock in trade.

To qualify, I had not intended to write on this subject, however two instances last week coloured my mind.

Firstly, I entered the premises of a well-known and respected south side of Dublin fishmonger and found wild bass, supposedly caught off Brittany, France, for sale, and secondly a well-known and frequented high end Dublin restaurant had placed blue fin tuna on its starter menu.

Wild bass were exploited to the point of economic extinction in Irish waters until our Government stepped in and placed a commercial ban on the species in 1990. Blue fin tuna are on the World Wild Life Funds list of endangered species, and if the truth be known should probably replace the panda on their logo given the parlous state of the species.

When questioning key staff at both premises it became obvious how little they knew regarding the current state of affairs, not just of the two species involved, but of the marine environment in general.

Both these businesses are ambassadors of quality with impeccable reputations, so surely they should show a lead and be at the forefront when it comes to advocating sustainable practices in the exploitation of our marine environment. If not them, then who? To all those who make a living from the sea, remember your responsibility and act accordingly. That wild bass might have been caught off Brittany, but equally it might just swim off Wexford for part of the year, so to make it simple and to remove the hypocrisy, just don't sell wild bass, that's the law in Ireland.

As for the majestic, athletic blue fin, would you shoot and eat a Lion, White Rhino, Siberian Tiger, or a Snow Leopard, I don't think so because you know better.

Well hopefully you are a little bit wiser now regarding the king of fish.

Sushi bars please take note..