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Paint a fish to promote fisheries reform, urge campaigners


Consumers from around Europe are being urged to paint a picture of their favourite fish to persuade ministers to ban discards and reform the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Formal proposals backed by the UK government to reform the CFP are in their final stages but still face heavy opposition which could block them.

Reforms include banning discards and making Europe’s fisheries sustainable by forcing ministers to follow scientific advice on how much can be caught without damaging stocks.

Pro-reform campaigners will launch an “e-action” next week in which they will encourage members of the public from across Europe to e-mail their drawings and paintings of fish.

Opposition to the reforms is strongest in France and Spain but campaigners are hopeful that the e-action will help undermine it.

Every picture sent to the Paint A Fish website will be passed on to ministers and MEPs to persuade them to support reform of the CFP. Some have already been sent to Paint a Picture.

“We are inviting pictures as a platform to help visualise public concern about fisheries, and to do so in an innovative, positive and clear way,” he said.

“We have to ensure European fish stocks are managed sustainably and to make sure Europe’s leaders are aware of the public concern about fisheries.”

He said the quality of the pictures is far less important than the message they will carry to political leaders, and he urged the public to overcome any embarrassment they might feel at lacking in artistic skills.

Mr Esteban added: “I don’t think the biggest obstacles to reform have changed. It’s the usual suspects – Spain and France are the big obstacles to overcome.”

The Paint A Fish project is also aimed at children across Europe and organisers have designed special resources for schools to help engage and teach them about marine sustainability.

Explaining its aims, the Paint A Fish website states: “The seas around Europe used to teem with cod, herring and other fish, but because of overfishing....we have depleted fish populations, damaged ecosystems and harmed coastal communities. If we continue like this we could easily run out of fish one day.

“The good news is that if we let fish stocks grow to their maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in a few years we will have plenty more fish in the sea.”

Later this year nef hopes to set up an exhibition of the fish pictures it receives, and all of them will appear on the website as they are received.


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