5 May, 2015

Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve

At M&S, we've had a responsible fishing policy for the past 15 years, and we've taken that even further with our Forever Fish campaign. All our wild fish comes from the most sustainable sources available to us, and our partnerships with the Marine Conservation Society and WWF are helping to protect our precious sea life, oceans and beaches. Plus, we donate all the profits from the sale of food carrier bags to WWF, MCS and an education programme to protect the marine environment.

We also have a wider vision for our marine ecosystem: to educate small-scale fisheries on the benefits of fishing sustainably. We support the Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve project, which seeks to engage small-scale fishermen in managing the marine ecosystem in the area.

Fiona Wheatley, Plan A Sustainable Development Manager at M&S, told us: "Led by the Blue Marine Foundation, this pioneering project puts fishermen at the heart of decision-making from the beginning. As a result, they are more open about their own practices and what needs to change to ensure that they are fishing responsibly.

”This group undertook Responsible Fishing Scheme training, introduced quality standards and, with money provided by foundations and local donors, bought ice machines to keep fish fresher for longer. As a result, both the unique reef features of Lyme Bay and the future of the small fishing fleet are much more secure. We hope this will create a blueprint which we can then roll out across the country. I’m optimistic the tide has turned and we will start to see coastal areas where fish, fishermen and communities thrive again.”

Angus Walker, fisherman, Axmouth

"Axmouth Harbour, which is where I work from, is the oldest harbour in the whole country. We’ve got 14 boats that fish in this quay, which is the most we’ve had in 30 years.

"In addition to funding towards vital equipment and improvements of the port, what M&S and the Blue Marine Foundation have provided us with a voice. Without them, us fisherman wouldn't be heard. They know how to deal with government and get through the red tape. With their help, we are provided with the necessary support and can still get on with doing what we're good at: catching and selling quality seafood. It's the little things, too, that make a big difference. All the local fishermen get to sit down together in a room once a month and swap views. That would never have happened before. And the Blue Marine Foundation organises it all for us, which takes a huge weight off our shoulders.

"We've got a much better understanding of how the authorities work now. And, of course, they have been given the opportunity to hear our thoughts and feelings, which has made a huge difference. Collaboration is key here."

Jim Newton, fisherman, Beer

"We’re rewarded for low-impact fishing and for high-quality fish. The Blue Marin foundation have provided us with improved fish storage units, insulation boxes and an ice machine. All of these help to prolong the quality of the fish, which will lead to a high price for what we have caught.

"The voluntary Code of Conduct has made big difference to us as we helped to write it and agreed to it from the off. As a result, we are now all fishing responsibly.

"And we know it's the right thing to do - at the end of the day, we all want the same thing, which is for our marine ecosystem to still be there in the future."


Find out more about M&S commitment to sustainable fishing, and don't forget the 2015 #beachclean is taking place from 7 to 13 May.

Click here for more information and to register to find your nearest clean up.

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