Sustainable Fish Stamp Cover featuring 10 Special Stamps - BC508
This stamp cover serves to highlight the plight of different species of fish that are increasingly in danger. The stamps included are separated into the sustainable and the threatened fish which can be found in the British waters and beyond.
There are two issues which determine whether or not a fishery is sustainable. The first is how healthy the population is and the second is the method used to catch the fish. Some methods are clearly destructive, like bottom trawling, which ploughs up the sea floor or pair trawling that catches non-target species such as dolphins.
In the UK there are very few sustainable fisheries; the best are line-caught mackerel, line-caught seabass, and farmed mussels. Rod and line caught tuna and herring are also good fisheries.
Particular seafoods are sustainable if it comes from a fishery with practices that can be maintained indefinitely without reducing the species' ability to maintain its population and without impacting on other species within the ecosystem by removing their food source which accidentally kills them, or damages their physical environment.
To finish off this stamp cover there is a specially designed Hythe, Kent 5614 postmark which has been cancelled on the first day of issue.
The sustainable stamps are:
- Pouting is a small fast-growing relative of the cod which lurks on seaweed-swathed reefs and around shipwrecks. It is accidentally caught in the bottom trawls which target larger fish
- Herring shoals normally appear in the spring off the coast of Scotland and swim south. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and have been proven in clinical studies to be beneficial to health
- Dab are rapid in growth and their early mating habits protect them against overfishing. They were under-appreciated in the past but now these delicate flatfish are found in the fresh fish counters of supermarkets and on restaurant menus
- Cornish Sardines are an ancient favourite which have been fished off the South West of England for a thousand years and annual catches once topped 10,000 tonnes.
- Red Gurnard crawl on finger-like fins across the sea floor taking in prey such as crabs, fish and worms. They have expanded north as the waters have warmed up and have flourished in areas where larger fish have suffered from overfishing
The threatened stamps are:
- Common Skate do not live up to their name anymore and are uncommon in the seas around Britain. This is a sensitive fish which is ill-suited to mass exploitation and hides in terrains which are too rough for bottom trawling
- Wolffish has been claimed to be a sustainable alternative to cod but in fact they are rarer. This is due to the extensive amount of bottom trawling fishing methods which have caused a surge in catches across British seabeds
- Conger Eel lurk around haunting shipwrecks, grow up to 3 metres and can weigh up to 150kg. This is thanks to their copious diet of shellfish and fish. Modern commercial fishing has slashed their numbers in recent years
- Sturgeons have been hunted for thousands of years and are a pre-historic fish which has bony scales, grows up to 5 metres long and also weighs about half a tonne. They would seasonally travel from ocean to river but has been a rarity since the Middle Ages when rivers were dammed to power mills which blocked their route to spawning grounds
- Spiny Dogfish is a small shark that grows over 1 metre long; their population has plunged due to overfishing which has prompted sea anglers to campaign for their protection. A popular meal in the early 20th century was grilled dogfish fillets and chips
Release Date: 5th June 2014
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