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Shetland Fishing Community Stars in Nationwide Campaign

Fishermen from Shetland are starring in a nationwide campaign including a TV ad for the Marine Stewardship Council UK as part of its annual Sustainable Seafood Week

The TV ad will air on channels Channel 5, Food Network, Sky Arts, Discovery, Nat Geo, Sky Nature, Wild and Animal Planet from September 20.  

Now in its third year, Sustainable Seafood Week (September 16 to 23) is a nationwide movement for sustainable fish and seafood, involving retailers and brands like Waitrose, Aldi, Lidl, Wholefoods and Youngs. 

Whalsay scallop fisherman George Andrew Williamson, 54, who features in the ad, said: “It’s such a small community here, that scallop fishing keeps everything going. If we keep it sustainable, we actually have a future.” 

New MSC Ambassador, chef, and sustainable living expert James Strawbridge visited Shetland to film Sustainable Seafood Suppers as part of the campaign on location on Whalsay Island and West Burrafirth, which will be shown across the MSC’s digital channels from September 20. These include a smoky crab stew with pearl barley and Shetland Bannock, as well as smoked scallops with haggis. James will also be sharing essential seafood skills alongside Shetland fishermen to help people learn how to shuck scallops and pick crab meat.  

James Strawbridge said: “Shetland scallops and brown crab are the perfect seafood choices for my Sustainable Seafood Suppers this year and knowing they were sourced from local, certified sustainable fisheries that support rural, hardworking communities is a real plus. It’s brilliant to be able to cook great food and reduce your ocean impact all at once.” 

Katie Keay, Senior fisheries outreach manager at the MSC, said: “It’s fantastic to see the Shetland scallop and brown crab fishery being highlighted in this year’s Sustainable Seafood Week. The fishermen work really hard to ensure that they fish sustainably, so seafood can be around for generations to come. I hope this week will inspire people to look out for the blue MSC ecolabel in supermarkets to support these small but important fishing communities.” 

The Shetland scallop and brown crab fishery gained MSC certification in 2012. This means that the fishery maintains healthy fish stocks and minimises its environmental impact, and is certified to the MSC’s independent, leading standard for sustainable fishing. It manages its own inshore shellfish fisheries out to a six-mile limit through a Regulating Order. The brown crab fishery is the only one certified as sustainable in the world, so Shetland is leading the way in best practice fisheries management. 

A recent study (1) carried out independently by GlobeScan consultancy on behalf of the MSC found that some 70% of UK consumers recognise that the fish and seafood choices they make can help make a difference to the health of our oceans, while 77% of people from the UK believe we should eat seafood from sustainable sources.