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Marine Life & Conservation

Android users: now you can eat seafood responsibly with the MCS Good Fish Guide app too

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If you’re trying to eat the most responsible seafood about, then the MCS Good Fish Guide app has got the most up to date advice and is now available on Android – downloadable from the playstore for FREE.

The MCS Good Fish Guide, previously only available as an app for iPhone users, brings the definitive guide to sustainable seafood to even more consumers helping them to make the right choice at the supermarket fish counter or at the fishmongers.

MCS Fishonline Officer, Bernadette Clarke says: “The development of this app will enable many more people to access and use our advice, helping them make eating responsible fish their only choice”

Sponsored by Waitrose, it’s a fantastic way to make sure you have the best advice on hand so you don’t end up serving red listed Mediterranean swordfish with your chips when you should be eating its green rated South East Pacific brother, guilt free.

To support the launch of the Android app, Waitrose has commissioned research that shows people are still confused about which seafood they should be eating.

When asked to identify responsibly sourced options less than a quarter of respondents (24% and 21% of people respectively) identified mussels and oysters as fine to eat.  When in fact both are a good option to eat if looking to make responsible choices.

Whereas 14% of people thought whitebait was responsibly sourced – when in fact it should be avoided if trying to choose responsible seafood to eat.

Quentin Clark, Head of Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing at Waitrose says “While many people are keen to make responsible choices, these findings show there is still some confusion over the best seafood choices to make.  So we wanted to support the launch of this app to make it as easy as possible for people to find the answers.”

The Waitrose research also finds there are major differences in attitudes towards fish sourcing depending whether people live by the sea or not.  It found more than a third (35%) of people who live by the sea (closer than five miles) definitely agree they would be more likely to go to a restaurant if they knew the fish there has been responsibly sourced – this compares to 22% of people who live further from the sea.

The app is simple to use. No Latin names needed. Just search by common fish name and you’ll get all the information just as you want it – either at a glance or in full detail.

This handy app explains the MCS traffic light ratings system so you know exactly what you can and can’t eat, and the fish that you should eat only occasionally.

The app uses the latest data from the ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) stock evaluations.

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Paul Cox, CEO of the Shark Trust about the Big Shark Pledge (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Paul Cox, CEO of the Shark Trust UK about the Big Shark Pledge.

The Big Shark Pledge aims to build one of the biggest campaigning communities in the history of shark conservation. To put pressure on governments and fisheries. And make the positive changes required to safeguard awesome sharks and rays.

Find out more at: www.bigsharkpledge.org and www.sharktrust.org.


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Marine Conservation Society to take legal action over ocean sewage spills

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The Marine Conservation Society is announcing joining as co-claimant in a legal case against the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to protect English seas from sewage dumping.  

The legal case seeks to compel the Government to rewrite its Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan 2022, impose tighter deadlines on water companies and redevelop the Plan to effectively apply to coastal waters which are, currently, almost entirely excluded.  

Sandy Luk, Marine Conservation Society CEOUntreated sewage is being pumped into our seas for hundreds of thousands of hours each year; putting people, planet and wildlife at risk. 

We’ve tried tirelessly to influence the UK Government on what needs to be done, but their Plan to address this deluge of pollution entering our seas is still unacceptable. We owe it to our members, supporters and coastal communities to act, which is why we’ve joined as co-claimants on this case. We’re out of options. Our seas deserve better.”  

Launched and funded by the Good Law Project, the Marine Conservation Society will stand as co-claimants on the case with Richard Haward’s Oysters, and surfer and activist, Hugo Tagholm. 

Before reaching this point, the charity responded to a government consultation in March 2022 and met with DEFRA to express concern. In August 2022, the charity wrote an open letter to DEFRA outlining the ways in which the proposed Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan fails to protect the environment and public health from dumping raw sewage into the sea. However, the Plan hasn’t been amended and still fails to adequately address water companies’ excessive reliance on storm overflows and the harm their heavy use causes to our ocean. 

The plan virtually excludes most coastal waters (except for bathing waters) either directly or indirectly, with some types of Marine Protected Areas and shellfish waters totally excluded. 600 storm overflows are not covered at all by the Plan and will continue to – completely legally – be able to dump uncontrolled amounts of sewage directly into English seas and beaches. What’s more, the Plan lacks all urgency – with long-term targets set for 2050, and the earliest, most urgent targets not to be met until 2035.  

Meanwhile, Marine Conservation Society analysis finds that raw sewage is pouring into the ocean at an alarming rate. In total, there are at least 1,651 storm overflows within 1km of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in England. These overflows spilt untreated sewage 41,068 times in 2021. Of these, almost half the overflows spilt more than 10 times in 2021, with an average of 48 spills for each of those overflows. Overall, in 2021, sewage poured into Marine Protected Areas for a total of 263,654 hours. 

According to DEFRA’s own latest assessments, only 19% of estuaries and and 45% of coastal waters are at ‘good ecological status’, with none meeting ‘good chemical status’, and three quarters (75%) of shellfish waters failing to meet water quality standards. 

Rachel Wyatt, Policy & Advocacy Manager for Clean Seas at the Marine Conservation SocietyUntreated sewage contains a cocktail of bacteria, viruses, harmful chemicals, and microplastics. It’s nearly impossible to remove microplastics and ‘forever chemicals’ once in the environment. Due to their persistence, with every discharge, these pollutants will continue to increase, meaning eventually they will pass – or may have already passed – a threshold of harm.”  

In addition, it’s not just invisible toxins that are causing problems. In September this year at the charity’s annual Great British Beach Clean, sewage related pollution, such as wet wipes and sanitary products, were found on 73% of the beaches surveyed across England.  

A new DEFRA report, Ocean Literacy in England and Wales, shows that 85% of people say marine protection is personally important to them. Yet this is being ignored. 

Emma Dearnaley, Legal Director at the Good Law Project, said: “The Marine Conservation Society is at the forefront of tackling the ocean emergency and standing up for coastal communities impacted by climate change and pollution. We are delighted to have them on board as a co-claimant. 

“Good Law Project will work closely with the claimants, including the Marine Conservation Society, to put forward the case for more ambitious and urgent measures to reduce sewage discharges by water companies. These sewage spills are threatening human health, biodiverse marine life and the fishing industry. We believe that taking legal action now is vital to help safeguard our coastal waters for generations to come”. 

If the case is won, the Marine Conservation Society hopes to see the UK Government amend its Plan so that it meets the DEFRA Secretary of State’s legal obligations to protect the ocean and its inhabitants from raw sewage spills.   

For more visit the Marine Conservation Society website.

Header image credit: Natasha Ewins

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