Sustainable Scotland: Shetland fishermen in campaign to highlight sustainable seafood on the big screen

Shetland fishermen are starring in a new TV advert for the Marine Stewardship Council, which runs an eco-labelling scheme to help consumers choose sustainable fish and seafood. Image: David Loftus

Scottish fishermen are taking center stage in a new TV ad as part of a nationwide campaign to promote sustainable fishing practices and promote healthy seafood.

The commercial was created for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an international non-profit organization that sets standards for sustainable science-based practices and runs a globally recognized ecolabel and certification program to help guide consumers.

It features Shetland fishermen working on a renowned local initiative that aims to balance commercial needs with the conservation of the marine environment and has been launched in conjunction with MSC’s annual Sustainable Seafood Week, which runs until Friday.

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It will be broadcast on multiple platforms including Channel 5, Food Network, Sky Arts, Discovery, Nat Geo, Sky Nature, Wild and Animal Planet, and will be available to watch on YouTube.

“It’s such a small community here that scallop fishing keeps everything going,” said George Andrew Williamson, a Whalsay scallop fisherman featured in the ad.

“If we keep it sustainable, we really have a future.”

Brown crab caught in Shetland is the only brown crab catch in the world to be certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, thanks to local fishermen’s pioneering approach to protecting the stock. Image: David Loftus

Shetland’s scallop and brown crab fishery achieved MSC certification in 2012, which means it maintains healthy fish stocks and minimizes environmental impact.

It is the only brown crab fishery in the world that is certified as sustainable, so the islanders are pioneers in the management of good fishing practices.

Commercial fishing for lobster, crab, scallop, queen, clam, razor clam, cockle, mussel and oyster up to six miles offshore is regulated by the pioneering Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation.

This is done through the granting of licenses and the implementation of measures that guarantee the recovery and long-term sustainability of stocks.

Celebrity chef James Strawbridge was also in Shetland filming a cookery series showing viewers how to make delicious seafood, such as crab stew, using only sustainably caught seafood. Image: David Loftus

The approach has been praised by experts, with suggestions that it could be expanded worldwide.

Katie Keay, MSC’s chief fisheries outreach officer, said: “It’s fantastic to see Shetland’s scallop and brown crab fisheries highlighted during this year’s Sustainable Seafood Week.

“Fishermen work very hard to ensure that they fish sustainably so that seafood is available for generations to come.

“I hope this week will encourage people to look out for the blue MSC eco-label in supermarkets to support these small but important fishing communities.”

As part of the campaign, celebrity chef, TV presenter and sustainable lifestyle expert James Strawbridge, who recently became MSC ambassador, has also been in Shetland filming a series of cooking shows.

The programmes, Sustainable Seafood Suppers, were filmed on location on the Isle of Whalsay and West Burrafirth on the Shetland mainland.

The shows will be broadcast on MSC’s digital channels and will feature meals including a crab stew with pearl barley and Shetland bannock, as well as smoked scallops with haggis.

The chef will also be joined by local fishermen to help impart basic seafood skills such as cracking scallops and removing crab meat from the shells.

He said: “Shetland scallops and brown crab are the perfect seafood choices for my Sustainable Seafood Dinners this year and knowing they came from local, sustainable and certified fisheries that support hard working rural communities is a real plus.

“It’s great to be able to cook great food and reduce your ocean impact at the same time.”

The voiceover of the short film entitled All hands on Deck, which shows fishermen out in their boats, concludes: “When we take care of the ocean, the ocean takes care of us.”

Recent research for MSC found that 70% of people in the UK agree that the choice of fish and seafood they buy has an impact on the health of the world’s oceans, with 77% saying they only buy seafood from sustainable sources. must be eaten