Page last updated at 05:52 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 06:52 UK

Uni help for sustainable fishing

Fishing boat
Fishing practices are improving, a Bangor marine expert believes

Scientists from Bangor University have lent their experience to help a supermarket chain devise a new responsibly-sourced fish policy.

The Co-operative promises that every fish or fish produce sold will come from a responsibly-produced source.

The supermarket received advice from marine life experts at the university's School of Ocean Sciences.

The retailer is also ploughing 200,000 into helping UK fisheries gain sustainability accreditation.

The link with the university was forged when the Co-operative used Bangor's research ship the Prince Madog to launch its new strategy during a trip up the Thames.

Following discussions on fisheries' science and sustainable use of marine products, the retailer asked for advice on the policy documents it was assembling.

A number of supermarkets have moved towards sustainably-sourced fish in recent years, a move which has been welcomed by Bangor's Professor Michel Kaiser.

In the last three years I've seen an incredibly positive change in the behaviour of fisheries in the UK
Prof Michel Kaiser

Prof Kaiser said: "We were keen to support the event because of what the Co-op and others are doing in relation to seafood policy, because it's bringing about a change in fishing policy.

"Hopefully this is the start of an ongoing relationship.

"They are investing money in trying to promote fisheries which might want to apply for certification from the Marine Stewardship Council but perhaps didn't have enough funds to do it themselves."

He believes that policy would make a big difference to UK fishing.

"I've been working in this area for about 17 years and in the last three years I've seen an incredibly positive change in the behaviour of fisheries in the UK," he said.

"Ultimately what it depends upon is fishermen changing the bad practices from the past, such as throwing fish back over the side, and retailers paying a premium for quality products.

"It's interesting that it's not an issue that's been driven by the consumer but it's very sensible from the business point of view as they could not guarantee a supply of fish."

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