STAFF at a Weymouth fish and chip shop have been urged to have a rethink by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight about selling mackerel baps.
The Marlboro on Weymouth harbourside threw their weight behind the celebrity’s chef campaign for sustainable fishing and appeared on his TV programme.
Manager Shaun Hatton was filmed for a follow-up interview due to be screened on an episode of Hugh’s Fish Fight: Save Our Seas on Channel 4 tonight.
But Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall’s right hand man Tim Maddams has emailed Mr Hatton to tell him that the interview has been shelved amid the developments that mean mackerel is no longer certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.
He also urged Mr Hatton to rethink the Marlboro’s sales of mackerel – whether to cut it from the menu completely, advise customers of the situation, use locally caught mackerel or try kipper baps instead.
Mr Hatton, who went to London to lobby MPs with Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall fellow chef Jamie Oliver, said that the options were being considered.
He said: “It is a difficult situation. The customers want it and like it so it seems harsh to take it off completely.
“We will advise customers that the mackerel is no longer sustainable.”
Mr Hatton said that customers could make an informed choice to eat it or not, eat in moderation or try an alternative, such as kipper or cod baps. But he said the restaurant was definitely going to try and source mackerel from local boats although the season is limited from April to September.
The Marlboro spent £500 on signs promoting the mackerel baps and can sell up to 500 a week in peak season.
The Marine Stewardship Council suspended the certificate of sustainability for all North East Atlantic mackerel fisheries late last year.
The move came amid fears of over-fishing amid a spat about quotas between the EU and Norway on one side, and the Faroe Islands and Iceland on the other.
The Fish Fight programme tonight will look at the impact of marine protected areas on fish stocks, with a focus on Lyme Bay.
Mr Maddam’s email to Mr Hatton thanked him for the Marlboro’s support and added that the mackerel situation saddened him.
“It saddens me to say that until this political situation is resolved and certification restored I feel that mackerel should be off the menu altogether, unless it is caught by small inshore boats.”
THE Faroes and Iceland are in a dispute or so-called ‘mackerel war’ with the EU and Norway about catches leading to concerns that stocks may be at risk.
The Marine Stewardship Council suspended the certificate of sustainability for North East Atlantic mackerel fisheries last autumn.
The Marine Conservation Society also downgraded mackerel in its fish advice ratings last month.
It now advises that mackerel caught by the largest boats is no longer a sustainable choice.
It says that mackerel from small inshore boats, caught with hand-lines or small nets, should be an occasional choice.