Kath Dalmeny works for Sustain and helped set up the Sustainable Fish City Campaign. Here she explains her motivation for working on sustainable fish.
“I first became concerned about sustainable fish when I read a book called ‘Cod: A biography of the fish that changed the world’. What an amazing book! I thoroughly recommend it. It told the story of early American settlers ‘fishing the oceans dry’ of seafood that had previously been an endlessly renewable resource and had fed native peoples for thousands of generations. It seems so senseless, careless, unthinking, unplanned…”
“But hopefully we know better now! I started to find out more and then got involved with campaigning on environmental issues, through Friends of the Earth, and then with Sustain (which is now organising Sustainable Fish City).”
“At Sustain, we started to do surveys of fish labelling and sustainable fish promotion in supermarkets. I spent a whole summer phoning supermarkets and suppliers asking them if they sold sustainable fish, and what advice they could give, with some hilariously inaccurate responses! We started to contact restaurants, schools, hospitals, shops and policy-makers asking them to consider using sustainable fish. I was always surprised firstly how little people knew about the issue, but secondly how willing they were to take action once they heard about the state of world fish stocks. This seems to be something that really motivates people. They know that they can make a difference. I was inspired by their enthusiasm.”
“By a strange twist of fate, I ended up on the Food Advisory group to the catering organisers of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and was asked to convene a working group on fish, sitting alongside conservation groups, government, and representatives from the fishing industry and supply organisations, as well as Olympic sponsors such as McDonald’s. I now also sit on the London Food Board Executive, working with the mayor’s food advisor Rosie Boycott to try and make London’s food system more healthy and sustainable for everyone.”
“It’s been quite a journey. But fish is such an important issue. For me, it’s the litmus test of whether human beings can adopt a sensible, careful, thoughtful and planned approach to conserving the world’s resources. I really hope that Sustainable Fish City will make a contribution to that future.”
Sustainable Fish City is a Sustain campaign