Slow Food
   

Learning by Fishing. Meetings, discussions and conferences enliven the Porto Antico


02 Apr 13

The need to protect small-scale fishers and limited prospects for young people; European legislation and the management of inland waters; the problem of some species being discarded while others are raised only to be turned into feed; and the difficulties faced by consumers to make an informed choice for environmental sustainability in the absence of clear information. These are just a few of the topics to be discussed during the Water Workshops – opportunities for discussion and exchange between scientists, chefs, fishers and experts - public events to be held at Slow Fish, from May 9-11. 

Dedicated to fishers and youth, the workshops In the same boat! Fishermen and scientists, a dialog to be encouraged, Thursday at 9 p.m., and Fishing: not a career for young people?, Saturday at 12 a.m., will discuss the absence of new recruits to fishing, the obstacles fishers face daily, with almost complete indifference from politics and media, and their fears for the future. “It is difficult to talk about employment in a sector in which 17,000 jobs were cut in the last decade, and which due to the proposed reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is threatened of having a reduced fishing fleet of 30% by 2020,” says Ettore Ianì, president of the Italian association Lega Pesca. “The labor conditions are very difficult and the income is more precarious than ever, but the problem lies in building a new standing for the fishing profession, by showing more appreciation and supporting it with a suitably structured training system, which is still lacking in Italy.”

Nutritionists recommend eating fish at least two times a week, but how do we choose the right fish? One has to consider many things, from the breeding conditions of farmed fish to the environmental impact. Often it is difficult, for both chefs and consumers, to find the so-called “forgotten” fish species that are suggested as more sustainable options. “To rectify this situation, in which flavorsome and traditional Italian fish species are at risk of disappearing from the dining table, it is necessary to know what they are and encourage fishermen not to only catch the usual species,” explains Franco Andaloro, research director of the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) in Italy. “Educational activities that awaken consumer curiosity are essential. An interesting thing some fishmongers are doing in this regard, is offering semi-prepared dishes based on the lesser-known species.” This topic will be discussed at the event Fish on the table. The role of consumers, Saturday at 3 p.m., as well as at Where is the ‘poor’ fish? at 3 p.m.

 

Waste will also be at the center of the discussions: not only are we fishing too much, but a considerable amount of the fish caught are thrown back into the sea. Not because the fish isn’t good, but because it has a low market value. Not to mention that 40% of the overall fish catch is used for animal feed production, which supports intensive aquaculture projects that are extremely polluting and harmful to ecosystems. Experts from the sector will talk about this topic during the workshops A sea of waste, Thursday at 3 p.m. and When fish is turned into feed, Sunday at 4 p.m. Problems like these require international legislation, which regulates and constrains the increasing phenomenon of ocean grabbing in developing countries, and determines a new and concrete fisheries policy at the European level. Fishermen and institutions therefore have to work together to create an efficient system of shared resource management, that functions beyond the marine reserves. These topics will be the center of attention during the workshops Fishing regulations and future prospects, Thursday at 7 p.m., Ocean Grabbing: who does the sea belong to?. Saturday at 4 p.m., and Towards collective management of common resources, Saturday at 7 p.m.

 

These are just a few of the Water Workshops programmed for Slow Fish 2013. Discover the entire program at www.slowfish.com (free entry until all seats are taken).