Fishing trawler

Channel 4's Fish Fight: bycatch and discarding fish

Channel 4's recent Fish Fight campaign highlighted the strain that the discarding of species by mixed fisheries was putting on global fisheries, and called for reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. At Sainsbury's, a big part of our fish sustainability plans are to catch fish as specifically as possible, doing our best to avoid fish that we don't want to catch.

We support using and developing more selective fishing equipment, to minimise environmental impacts and bycatch. Encouraging our suppliers to test fishing gear that is more selective has proven very successful in the South West, where new nets have reduced unwanted bycatch by 50 per cent, as well as improving fuel efficiency and fish quality.

If, despite their best efforts, our fishermen do catch other species, sometimes they are not allowed to land this fish and it has to be discarded. We recognise that fishermen are bound by legislation to do this, but believe it is a waste of valuable resources. As a result, we have joined with the Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF) and other like-minded organisations to call for a change in legislation and an end to this practice.

We are also working closely with the UK Government (DEFRA) to identify species we do not sell and which are currently discarded, to see what can be done to help bring these fish to market.