World Oceans Day bike ride

Charles Redfern - 23 May 2013

Charles (left) and co outside Oliver's Wholefood Store, Kew, on test bike rideAt Fish4Ever we see sustainable fishing in a holistic way and that includes the link between environmental degradation and human rights. Illegal or pirate fishing undermines efforts to protect the sea and fish stocks. But what about the human aspect?

We are outraged by the impact illegal fishing has on some of the poorest countries in the world where fish can represent up to 50% of the protein people eat as well as a vital source of jobs.

Our policy at Fish4Ever is to support the small local boats – those fishing with selective methods of course – and the traditional local fishing community: this is the foundation stone of our approach to sustainability.

In fact we refuse point-blank to buy anything from foreign long-distance fleets that operate globally. Boats operating illegally compound the problem with foreign fleets: most the time they use far worse equipment, have very dodgy workers rights and infringe into the boundaries reserved for local artisan boats as well as upsetting attempts to manage the resources.

The impact on the local fishing community is devastating. Globally, illegal fishing is estimated to be the equivalent of 1/5th of the world catch and worth between €5bn to $10bn.

Sub-Saharan Africa loses around $1bn a year, a massive dent in the budget of some of the poorest equivalent in the world and equal to ¼ of Africa’s total annual fisheries exports.

I first came across the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) when researching global fishing. The EJF operates a monitoring boat off the coast of West Africa to empower the local community to log, report and witness acts of illegal fishing. They also campaign actively in the political arena to shine a light on illegal fishing activity and urge a better response.

In 2010 I cycled for EJF from London to Paris raising nearly £10,000 for a boat that can monitor and report on pirate fishing boats fishing illegally in the waters of Sierra Leone.

This work has been so successful, leading to major court cases and frontpage news articles, that it is now moving along the coast to Liberia and Guinea. Al Jazeera featured a dramatic video report of the boat monitoring illegal vessels off the coast of Sierra Leone.

World Oceans Day on 8 June is a celebration to inspire us to protect the oceans. We are sponsoring and organising an EJF night ride leaving Oliver’s Wholefood Store in Kew Gardens at midnight on Friday 7 June and arriving the next morning at the south coast on Saturday 8 June on World Oceans Day. 

The pace will be leisurely around 10 miles an hour with a few urban/suburban miles until we meander through the gentle Surrey Hills and Surrey and Hampshire countryside. We arrive in time for breakfast at The Ship, (opening just for us) for a delicious breakfast cooked by a chef from the Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell with local produce and Fish4Ever fish. Bring swimsuits for a dip in the sea. 

We hope this will become an annual event. It is £50 only this year, so join us for our maiden voyage. 

Charles is the founder of the ethical canned fish company, Fish4Ever, the sister company of Organico, both based in Reading. Fish4Ever's motto is Land, Sea and People. Its land ingredients are 100% organic - supporting traditional fishing communities is as important as saving the fish. He is currently involved in a number of awareness-raising campaigns working with WWF, Sustainable Fish City, the Environmental Justice Foundation and the Marine Conservation Society.

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