On a white sandy beach in a small fishing village called Kuruwitu in eastern Kenya a ground-breaking project that aimed to protect marine biodiversity and improve livelihoods was launched in 2005. Six years on what obstacles has it encountered and what lessons can be learned?
The Fish Fights campaign, headed by old-Etonian turned sustainable food champion Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, has been making waves in the UK, drawing attention towards the upcoming EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform in 2013. Celebrity involvement in campaigning is nothing new but has recently been attracting a lot of attention in the development blogosphere. Celebrities have helped publicise Fish Fights, but what next for the campaign?
Seeking an easy way to prepare fish at home, many families in the developed world turn to fish fillets. Grilled, sautéed or fried, the fish is ready to eat in minutes, having been pre-scaled, pre-gutted, deboned and pre-packaged before it arrives at the local supermarkets. But what happens to those fish scraps that are stripped away?
In Uganda, a landlocked east African country hit by fish scarcity, these scraps or fish bones are called fille, after the late musician Philly Lutaya, whose bony frame shocked Ugandans in the early 1990s when he publicly announced that he was dying of AIDS. While fillets – with a ‘t’ – are exported for consumption in the rich North, fille – the fish bones without a ‘t’ – are left for the locals to scavenge on.
‘Mind-withering stupidity’ is how UK writer George Monbiot characterised the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) decision not to protect bluefin tuna.
The ‘absence of a ban’, he went on to say, ‘ensures that, after one or two more seasons of fishing at current levels, all the jobs and the entire industry are finished forever, along with the magnificent species that supported them’.
Pirates off the Horn of Africa — a 21st-century hotspot of maritime hit-and-run — are usually reported as victimising the crews of yachts or oil tankers straying into ‘their’ territory. The ordeal suffered by British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler is a case in point.