FISHERMEN have condemned a BBC TV programme showing the darker side of the fishing industry after it was broadcast on BBC1 on Monday last week.
Presenter Alex Riley’s investigation “Britain’s really disgusting food: fish” was first broadcast last year on BBC3 and graduated to the corporation’s main channel last week.
Fishing industry body Seafish has written to the BBC to formally complain about “poor editorial standards”, with the support of Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations.
In a joint statement, they said: “This was an extremely damaging programme to the UK fishing industry where the true facts were simply ignored. It seems that the programme makers thought of a title and then made an episode to fit around their own narrow agenda.
“Seafood is one of the healthiest and most natural foods around and its consumption should be promoted, not denigrated. The programme makers totally failed to acknowledge the huge strides made by the UK fishing industry in recent years to ensure a sustainable future.
“The industry has been making changes and sacrifices to be as conservation-minded as possible, working with government on selective gear and closed areas, and embracing a conservation scheme which offers fishermen incentives to fish in a responsible way.
“Such efforts have led to the first signs of recovery in the North Sea cod stock, and a growing number of UK fisheries are now certified, or are undergoing certification, by the Marine Stewardship Council as being sustainable and well managed.
“It is a great pity that the programme makers felt unable or unwilling to report such facts. Our fishermen have a difficult and dangerous enough job as it is by bringing to our plates sustainable, nutritious and tasty seafood, without having to face a totally unwarranted onslaught of this sort.”