Paint a fish!

21 March 2013

Paint a Fish logo

Fernanda Balata, Paint a Fish Co-ordinator at nef, provides some background information on educational resources and a fun activity to teach pupils about sustainable fisheries.

This year, the future of EU fish stocks is being decided by EU leaders at the final stages of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) – a once in a 10-year opportunity to save our fish stocks from years of overfishing and guarantee that we don’t run out of fish one day.

Did you know that two-thirds of EU fish stocks are currently overfished? This continued mismanagement means we are annually losing a potential value of 1,800 million euros, money which could go towards supporting tens of thousands of much-needed jobs. By simply allowing EU stocks to grow to their maximum sustainable yield (MSY), we could guarantee a sustainable supply of fish for generations to come.

The nef (new economics foundation) has spent the past few years producing ground-breaking reports on the issues of sustainable fisheries in order to support the change we want to see. To coincide with a crucial moment in the political process and put pressure on leaders that will decide the future of our fisheries, we launched the ‘Paint a Fish’ initiative.

Digital Explorer Sustainable Fisheries resourcesEducating younger generations about environmental interaction and sustainable development is a key priority and there’s a great opportunity this year to teach kids about sustainable fisheries whilst allowing them to make connections to the world beyond school. Through the ‘Paint a Fish’ initiative, nef worked with Digital Explorer to develop a set of free educational resources (presentations, lesson plans, videos) to help teachers give lessons on sustainable fisheries. The enquiry-based resources give pupils aged 8-16 an introduction to fish as a food source, the issue of overfishing and what changes need to be made to ensure sustainable fisheries for the future.

The objective is to engage and educate the younger generations in the protection of fish stocks, ensuring that they are better prepared to tackle the issue of overfishing in the future. By taking part in an additional ‘Paint a Fish’ activity, kids can contribute fish paintings to a ‘virtual fish stock’ and have their say on the future of our fish stocks.

The free educational resources can be accessed via Digital Explorer’s resources web site and more information and materials for teachers can be found on the Paint a Fish website.

Dozens of schools in Europe are already involved in the ‘Paint a Fish’ initiative and over 25,000 fish paintings are successfully linking public support and interest for the reform of the CFP with the decision-making process of EU politicians.

Schools can take part in the ‘Paint a Fish’ campaign at any time from now until the end of June 2013, when EU Fisheries Ministers are expected to reach a final decision about the reform. The initiative is however, leaving a legacy of free educational materials on the issues of sustainable fisheries that can be used and shared way beyond the end of the ‘Paint a Fish’ campaign.

Further articles of interest regarding overfishing:

TES: Science – Plenty more fish in the sea?

Observer: Food shopping is full of ethical grey areas. Be careful what you buy – or fish will be a luxury

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