Alternative fish


Consumers are favouring coley, dab, mussels, squid and sardines over the staple salmon, cod and tuna following the programmes last week, which highlighted the wasteful use of “discard” in fishing practices while encouraging shoppers to take the pressure off popular fish stocks by being more adventurous in what they eat.

The cook and Guardian writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, credited with boosting demand for higher-welfare chicken three years ago, has taken the lead in the new campaign.Programmes from fellow chef Jamie Oliver have shown consumers new ways of cooking less popular species such as mussels, squid and trout.

Sainsbury’s said sales of “bycatch” from its fresh fish counter had been “promising” overall, while sales of pollack had leapt by 167% week on week. It said customers had responded well to the fish featured in Jamie Oliver’s programmes with sales of British and MSC-certified mackerel up 60% and mussels up 16%.

Sales of its sustainable “line and pole caught” canned tuna increased by 17% over the last week, while sales of organic salmon grew by 16% and normal salmon sales remained unchanged.

Tesco, the UK’s biggest fish retailer, said it had seen an increase in sales of between 25 and 45% for fresh sardines, coley, brown crab, sprats and whiting in the week since the first programmes. It said in a statement: “We sell around 40 species of fish on our fresh counters and our staff are trained to advise customers on trying new varieties. Sales of fresh cod, herring, mussels, mackerel and canned tuna also increased compared to last week.”

But the supermarket was singled out by Fearnley-Whittingstall for misleading labelling on its canned tuna, leading the company to pledge to catch 100% of its own-brand canned tuna using the “pole and line” method. Tesco last week came fifth out of the major supermarkets in a 2011 league table of sustainable tuna, compiled by Greenpeace.

Waitrose said sales of seafood overall were up by 15% – with most of this increase being attributed to species that have traditionally been less popular. Sales of frozen coley were up by 36%, frozen mackerel up 31% and Dover sole up 163%. A spokeswoman for Waitrose said: “There has also been strong demand for dabs, which we sell frozen. This week we are launching sprats (a fish that has almost been forgotten by UK consumers) and are looking at introducing dabs and coley on our service counters over the coming weeks. We are also introducing Welsh flounder – a species commonly discarded.”

Ally Dingwall, aquaculture and fisheries manager at Sainsbury’s, said: “Fish Fight has had a direct impact on consumer behaviour. It’s encouraging to see a positive shift towards less popular and bycatch fish, and if we can establish continued demand, fishermen will land and sell more of these species, and it may potentially become targeted species. In the last week, our fish sales have risen across the board: from fresh to counter to frozen fish..”

Asda reported “really strong sales across the whole of the fish category in the last week, up 10% on the previous week” with particular growth in the sales of products included in Jamie Oliver’s recipes. Sales of trout fillets, for example, rose by 56%, whole sardines 66% and whole mackerel up by 115%.

Marks & Spencer said it had ordered in over a third more stock than it did for its peak Christmas week. Richard Luney, M&S fish expert, commented: “We had our biggest ever week in the history of M&S on fish sales last week, sales were up 25% versus this time last year. One of the key highlights was on our line–caught tuna that had a record week – so the importance of avoiding purse seined [a large net that catches entire schools of fish] fishing methods obviously really hit home.”

As part of the Fish Fight campaign, consumers have been urged to add their signatures to a letter to the European fisheries minister, Maria Damanaki, calling for the elimination of discards to be elevated to a top priority in the forthcoming review of the European common fisheries policy. Even before the programmes were aired, the letter attracted over 35,000 signatories but this has now risen to well over 500,000. Today, Fearnley-Whittingstall urged consumers: “Please keep spreading the word. Half a million supporters today – less than a week after our shows went out! I wonder if a million sign-ups is a crazy dream … what do you think?”


Tesco, the UK’s biggest fish retailer, reported that pouting sales had reached the level of 50% of the chain’s cod fillet sales. In January, Tesco said sales of fresh sardines, coley, brown crab, sprats and whiting had risen by between 25% and 45% after Fish Fight aired. A spokeswoman told the Guardian sales of popular species such as cod had held steady, despite the rise in alternative fish.

Morrisons said it had seen a three-fold increase in pouting and dab sales, and a 33% increase in coley sales since January. Its spokeswoman said that while consumers had switched away from cod, haddock and salmon in January, sales of those species “soon returned”.

Waitrose said it was now selling three tonnes of fillets a week across alternative species – such as Anglesey seabass fillets, Cornish pollack, Icelandic whiting fillets and Cornish brill fillets – compared with between 45 and 50 tonnes of cod fillets per week. A spokeswoman said that sales of popular species such as cod were “steady” rather than declining.

Asda said that since January, whole mackerel sales were up by 69%, whole sardines up 32% and whole trout up 72%. Sales of cod and haddock have also gone up.

But Sainsburys, which sells £400m worth of fish annually, said it had seen a 2% decrease in sales of the “big five” species. It sold 46 extra tonnes of coley, pouting, rainbow trout, hake and megrim since June after such alternative species were given away for free during a promotion.

Several of the supermarkets said they had been training staff to advise customers on alternative species, as well as running sustainable fish promotions. Marks and Spencer did not respond to requests for fish sales figures.

Will Anderson, the director and producer of Hugh’s Fish Fight, said: “From our point of view, the most important thing is that people need educating on what fish to eat and what to avoid. We don’t know who is buying this fish – whether it is people switching or people who weren’t buying fish before. Also, we don’t know if people can’t find alternative fish and are buying species such as cod as a result.”

On the question of whether the show was driving up overall fish consumption, he said: “We are concerned that may happen, but not worried about it yet, because nobody really knows. As a nation, we are recommended to eat nearly three portions of fish a week. We’re not saying we should all pile in and eat more fish, and we are concerned with overfishing. It’s about making people more aware.”

Tonight’s Fish Fight on Channel 4 will chart the success of the campaign since January, from political achievements – securing a House of Commons debate and being cited as helpful by the EU fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki – to changes in the way tuna is caught and labelled, and the campaign’s 700,000 supporters. The new episodes will continue to promote alternative fish and an iPhone app is launched on Monday night to recommend sustainable species.

Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ongoing campaign takes place against the backdrop of European efforts to overhaul drastically the common fisheries policy (CFP). Damanaki has said she wants to phase out discards and in July laid out how she would ensure European fish stocks are “at sustainable levels” by 2015.

Cod, salmon and tuna alone account for more than half of all fish eaten in the UK. Globally, in 2008, 42 million tonnes were taken out of oceans – a demand that is forecast to rise, particularly from China, according to the UN.

Summative evaluation

I have learnt through two of the projects (One word poster and Word & image) that my work is too literal and needs to be more subtle and think out of the box. I have to concentrate more on the form of typography and the concept of typography rather that image concepts because with the word & image my work was confusing because it had aspects of illustration and pure typography. My problem was that I did not know how to use Adobe Illustrator so I found it difficult to illustrate what I was thinking to be the same on screen. I found that my concepts in theory were good however it became lifeless on screen and didn’t convey my idea well. But I have built confidence in using Illustrator as I have had inductions and I have used other programs similar to Illustrator. With my grown confidence, I chose to then use it with my word & image task and found that my ideas looked strong and I managed to project what I was thinking onto the screen.

In addition, I discovered that I find it difficult to capture the desired effects/ images using the DSLR camera, I will need to improve in understanding the settings of a camera so I can build the fundaments on how to achieve the effects I want. I did look in the NUCA library and the city’s library but I still found it difficult to understand the terminology and information.

Surprisingly, the least project I enjoyed being the type off page became my favourite final piece with the shoe with impress carved on the sole of them. I like the photographs produced from the photo shoot with the high quality and clarity. I also enjoyed carving the shoe because personally I enjoy making things (arts and crafts) and it was a nice break from constantly using the computer to work on.

The experience in visiting The Norfolk & Norwich Association for The Blind was fascinating because it also taught me things beyond my research in visual impaired perception. Richard from the institute showed me gadgets that helped the visually impaired, how they do everyday things and I met a person who was blind who was a pleasure to meet. Even though it was part of research for my image task, it also imparted on my personal values and opened my mind too.

Usually in my school life, I’ve tended to have artist’s block where I just stop work because I have no inspiration therefore not motivated to do work. However on this course I have found myself to be motivating myself because I enjoy the course and the course content is interesting to me. This is good because then I am able to meet separate deadlines without having to stress to complete everything last minute. In addition, by being motivated, I am then able to produce dummies on time for critiques and gain feedback.

Evaluation: 5. Word and image

I chose the text “An Exaltation of Larks” by James Lipton and I was going to produce a booklet however after completing rough sketches, I discovered that the work would communicate better in a series of posters illustrating his main text as I consider it to be most important. I chose the page layout to be square because it looks more complete as a series placed beside each other and they also could be tiled as well. I presented my ideas to my tutor but he thought that my ideas to be too literal (as realised in one word poster project), therefore I researched into the game “Dingbats” which I played in my childhood. This game uses layout and images to express the text/ phrase. This inspired me to think more about positioning and connotations of the images. I drew some scanned sketched in my sketchbook and then developed them on Illustrator. I had not worked on Illustrator in depth before therefore the technical induction experience helped me and overtime this developed my skills in the program, especially when using the pen tool, anchor points because initially I could create smooth curves but now I have learnt keyboard shortcuts and the different ways in using the pen tool. I have learnt throughout the projects set that I have to be less literal and that I need to work with form of typefaces.

Evaluation: 4. Unknowing the city

Initially I had no direction of where to take with the project because I had no idea of what the final piece would be. But to inspire me, I explored paths I had never been before; this was a good opportunity to take photos of the “unknown” city, in addition to build my geographic knowledge of Norwich. I took images I personally found visually interesting, though I did walk through busy parts of the city; I tried to experiment with different perspectives (close ups, high/ low angles). After collecting the series of images, I still had no idea for a final piece. However, the image that inspired me was the shot of the The Forum roof that looked like an eye. My direction for the project was going to be images what visually impaired would view of the city – the city can be unknown to them through sight. Everyday is more unknown to them compared to people who have full sight. I expanded my research by contacting Norfolk & Norwich Association of The Blind and arranged to have a consultation. I tried on goggles that simulated different types of visual impairment and found this fascinating. This helped me get the perspective to achieve with the images. I experimented with a pinhole through black card, motion blur, black paint and Vaseline on acetate in front of the lens.

Evaluation: 3. Shut up & make things

I was initially thrown off with the concept of having to work with someone I didn’t know because I was scared we would have clashing ideas or that we would not communicate and resulting in me having to produce all the work. I didn’t know but reflecting back, I think we worked well because we communicated to each other if we had new ideas and the progress of the work. We both sat down and selected the verbs that we chose that we were happy to take further and develop, we both chose one and then decided on the final one together. We both worked at “to fire” idea first but then after constructing it in real life, we discovered it wouldn’t work in real life as the catapult was too flimsy. Chris developed the idea of “to light” by experimenting with different effects. We went back to the idea of “to impress” where Chris researched into sand footprints which then we thought of making a shoe with the word carved on it. I used the lino tool to cut the word and we took photos in context (in the park opposite the Norwich Playhouse). Reflecting back, I would have tried different soils/ effects with the shoe such as making water footprints, but I’m happy with the result of the final outcome but with the photos, the word impress could have been more significant in the image by applying more pressure to the shoe.

Evaluation: 2. Typography booklet

I enjoy making publications; I browsed through existing layouts and styles through the library and the internet. Then I tried a basic layout of using grids, using a consistent layout throughout the pages, using the colour theme of black and cyan. However I found this to be visually plain so then I tried to add the colour of orange to contrast against the cyan so it became vibrant. But still I found the booklet to be boring and after investigation, I realised it was because of the layout as it was being pedestrian being title to the left, main body text to the right. In addition I though the booklet was cluttered and needed to be simplified. Therefore I completely changed the layout of the booklet with large-scale typeface text on the left page and the main information on the right page because I had found that most people’s attention is on the right side when they flick through pages. By having each typeface styles on a double page spread, this had increased the amount of pages. I completed the contents of the booklet but had trouble in deciding the design of the covers. I experimented with different layouts but after experimentation, I thought it would work best with the colour theme of the booklet.

Evaluation: 1. One word poster

I had loads of ideas initially but after feedback, I realised that my work was too literal and that the one word poster had to be subtler so that the audience would stop and think about the meaning. I found that using computers to produce intricate designs was time consuming especially when I wanted to produce my own type; therefore I decided to sketch the designs and render them myself. Personally I thought two of my ideas were clichéd, communicate being in using the telephone cord to produce the letter and vanity in the use of the mirror. I tried to change the vanity poster to become unique by producing my own vanity themed form letters. The feedback I received about the vanity poster was that it would work well if my presentation skills were good.  I used watercolour paints and pencils for the poster but I found that the poster was not strong enough because the separate letters stood individually and didn’t communicate the word well.

I had an idea of trace where I drew the word trace in the air and the camera would capture the motion in a blur. I asked a photography student friend to assist me to capture this effect however the concept I had did not work in real life. I borrowed a DSLR camera then searched thoroughly on the internet and photography books to try and teach myself how to create the effect but I could not find the answer.

The piece that was one of the ones that I was least keen became the direction for my final outcome. At first I was thinking of many zoom words builds a big zoom word but then this concept was pushed further with the concept of pixilation and how that images can appear pixelated when zoomed in but are legible when zoomed out. I then experimented with the amount of pixels required for the image to be no longer legible; it appeared that 10 pixels per inch on A2 worked the best in the end.

Olympic design manuals


This website is particularly useful in viewing past design publications for the Olympics, it ranges from 1964 to 2012. I found it interesting because it shows the underlying color themes, positioning, styles, structure of the different years. Scrolling through the page, you get a sense of the branding style through how the publication appears, e.g. bright colours portray the event to be busy, block dark colours portays the event to be formalistic e.g. Barcelona 1992:

It appears that most countries have used a simpistic style however, Nagona 1998 uses images and vivid colours:

Personally I find Nagona 1998 to be the least aesthetically pleasing because the colours used do not compliment each other and I find it too brash, there is not a consistent style or layout. But the designer could have chosen this idea because they wanted to distinguish their designs from the rest of the other designs. Personally the overuse of overlay with low transparency on the text makes it distracting to read the main text and get an overall impression of the publication.