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Text by Charlotte BOITIAUX

Latest update : 2010-05-14

A new sustainable fishing campaign, dubbed "Mr. Goodfish", has reached France. It hopes to teach the French public to stay away from endangered fish, thanks to its guidebook and highly recognizable logo.

French ecologists made a stink when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) failed to ban porbeagle shark and bluefin tuna fishing in March. A month later, a BP oil slick that spread toward the Louisiana coastline sank green morale even deeper.

So this month’s launch in France of the “Mr. Goodfish” campaign is a breath of fresh, clean air for conservationists. The European programme, run under the auspices of the World Ocean Network Association, wants to help consumers buy fish that are neither endangered nor out of season.

Already established in Italy and Spain, the Mr. Goodfish initiative made its French debut Thursday. One of its founders, Philippe Vallette, Director of French sea observatory Nausicaa, hopes to make lasting changes to the eating habits of his compatriots.

"If everyone chooses a Mr. Goodfish instead of another fish, even just once a year, it will have a positive impact on 18,000 tonnes of endangered fish," Vallette says.

A logo for fish lovers

To enable fin lovers to know which fish are fit to fry, a blue logo will don fishmonger’s displays and restaurant menus. Within a few months the logo should surface in supermarkets. "We want to steer consumers towards species that are not under threat," explains Valette.

"We want to highlight the fish that we never hear about, like the whiting, the pout and the saithe,” says Mauguin Philippe, Director of Fisheries at the Ministry of Fishing and Agriculture. “There are other options out there besides bluefin tuna and cod.”

Cataloguing the catch

A list will also be created to designate French fishing zones, which will allow consumers to monitor the species to be protected in specific regions. The inventory, to be published on the Internet, clarifies the endangered status of species and details the best time to eat a particular fish depending on where French consumers live.

An iPhone application is also in the works, allowing even the busiest Parisian to avoid a dreaded fish faux pas.

Date created : 2010-05-14


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