10 Reasons To Support Selfridges Project Ocean Campaign

Project Ocean Selfridges Sustainable FishLast week Selfridges launched the Project Ocean campaign whereby they are partnering with over 20 environmental and conservation groups to promote sustainable fish and seafood. The campaign has been named to “celebrate the beauty of the ocean”.

Essentially, the campaign is educational to highlight serious issues of over fishing, the threats to the ocean and making positive choices about the right fish to eat.

Overall, Project Ocean has rightfully earned nothing but positive feedback. There has, however, been some cries that the campaign is more cynical “green wash” from a big retail brand.

At Green Abode we think anything that raises awareness of sustainable fish issues and what is going on, must be a positive thing. After all, why should we leave such a mess to future generations.

Here’s our Ten Reasons To Support Selfridges Project Ocean Campaign on promoting sustainable fish and the health of our oceans:

1. Fish and seafood sustainability issue

Anything that raises the profile of fish sustainability in the UK and globally has got to be a good thing. The more people that are aware of this huge challenge the better.

The End Of The Line illustrated the danger that we are facing due to overfishing on a global scale. For anyone who has not seen it, we highly recommend you do as it demonstrates the scale of the environmental issue. The End of the Line: Fish Facts reveals that experts in this field think that we will run out of fish by 2048.

This year Hugh’s Fish Fight made the issue more relevant to us Brits via the successful TV series. Let’s face it, who was not shocked by the fact that over half of the fish caught in the North Sea are thrown away. The campaign is still in full swing and it’s main objective is to stop fish discards from the EU fishing fleets.

So, the sustainability of UK and global fish stocks is a massive challenge that we need to solve.

2.    Education and awareness of the fish sustainability issue

Project Ocean is about celebrating the “beauty of the ocean” and this resonates very highly to a seafaring nation like us British.

The main objectives of Project Ocean is educate and make people aware of the very serious issues of fish sustainability and the health of our seas. These are as follows:

• Overfishing both in UK and global waters
• Environmental threats to the ocean
• How to make positive choices about the right fish to eat to promote sustainability

Project Ocean coming a few months after Hugh’s Fish Fight, is the best way to build on the education and awareness of the ocean sustainability challenges we face.

3. Fundraising aspect of Project Ocean

At the core of Project Ocean is fundraising, to raise money for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) charity. The cash raised from this will go towards creating and maintaining Marine Reserves, which have been set aside as safe areas for fish and their ecosystems.

Selfridges have made it easy for you to donate money to Project Ocean in a number of ways including via Just Giving, SMS, in stores and via shopping online at Selfridges.

Selfridges has already committed to setting up a reserve in the Philippines, whereby £10 would buy underwater paper to monitor fish numbers and species, £60 would purchase an underwater torch, and £1,000 would go to the annual salary of a fish warden.

At the time of writing, less than one week into the campaign it has already raised £50,000. Go here to donate money to Project Ocean.

4. Partnerships for success

We’re big supporters of this campaign as it has successfully brought together a broad partnership of people and organisations from across the UK. At Green Abode, we support big partnerships to solve big problems.

Selfridges has three main partners in this campaign. First, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) – a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their environments. They are involved globally with major campaigns to help save the tigers and also undertake a great deal of conservation work in the UK. They also operate both London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is their partner specialising in marine conservation. The MCS is dedicated to secure a living future for our seas and to save our threatened sea life.

The MCS run a number of campaigns to support the UK’s marine heritage including keeping beaches clean, buying sustainable seafood and globally protecting marine turtles. Selfridges has utilised the expertise of the MSC to develop their sustainable fish guide.

The final major partner is fish2fork who are a campaigning restaurant guide for people who want to east sustainable seafood. They operate in the UK, USA and parts of Europe to rank restaurants based on their sustainable practices when selling fish.

In the UK, fish2fork’s ranking guide covers over 400 restaurants and it continues to grow. Why not have a look so you can sea which of your local restaurants supports seafood and fish sustainability.

Selfridges should be commended for bringing together a big group of big and lesser known organisations partners, advisors and collaborators for Project Ocean. This list includes the RSPB who’s work protecting sea birds, overlaps with this campaign.

Of course these days, you can’t have partnerships without a good dolloping of celebrities thrown in. Hugh’s Fish fight has a long cast of famous UK celebrity supporters headed up by Richard Branson and Stephen Fry.

Project Ocean, however, steals the show as they had Prince Charles at the launch of the event. Our future King has recently been very critical of farming practices and has always been a very vocal supporter of environmental and sustainability issues. That’s not to say that Hugh missed out, yes of course he served HRH a mackerel bap.

Project Ocean Organic Cotton Oversize T-Shirts

Project Ocean Organic Cotton Oversize Women’s T-Shirts by Katherine Hamnett

Generally speaking, Project Ocean has gone for a more fashion savvy crowd of celebrities including Elle Macpherson and Cat Deeley, which are more in line with Selfridges heritage. The fashion celebrity of the show has to be Katherine Hamnett who has designed a classic slogan tee to raise money and awareness of the campaign.

Finally, the campaign is supported is by Charles Clover who is the environmental journalist and author behind End of the Line. Prior to the excellent documentary film, Charles Clover wrote the End of the Line book (2004). He is still campaigning fiercely on issues of fishing sustainaiblity and is involved in a number of initiatives to protect our oceans.

Jokes about mackerel baps aside, celebrities are very important figures to drive forward campaigns such as this. In the absence of David Attenborough – Prince Charles, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Charles Clover are probably the three most prominent conservationists you would like on board.

With Selfridges at the helm co-ordinating and representing the private sector, the Project Ocean partnership is very impressive. Selfridges should be highly commended for bringing together such as dedicated team of professionals to fight for this cause.

With so many environmental threats to our earth, it only makes sense to work together on the big issues.

5. UK fishing and maritime heritage

We British are a seafaring nation who’s past and present is dependent on the seas around us. Project Ocean focuses a great deal on the seafood and fish sustainability of the UK. The fish guide has many fish common to our waters and the extended ones around us.

As Hugh’s Fish Fight so clearly demonstrated at the start of 2011, there is still much to do to protect the fishing and maritime heritage around the UK. Why do we have this ridiculous system in place whereby half the fish in the North Sea are thrown back into the water?

The Fish Fight campaign had immediate successes, whereby many British supermarkets started selling sustainable fish from UK waters. This has continued and now we like to talk about Pollack as much as our beloved but endangered Cod.

Project Ocean is now building on this to educate us all further about the many different sustainable fish that we have in UK waters. Our maritime heritage is entwined with our fishing heritage, only when you support the latter can you protect the former.

6. Selfridges have changed their policy towards seafood

At the start of the Project Ocean campaign, Selfridges announced that they have banned the sale of endangered fish in their foodhalls and restaurants. This is a major step forward, and now puts pressure on other brands and retailers to also get into line on this issue.

When it comes to selling and serving seafood it must become the norm that we are only eating sustainable fish. When change starts it often acts as a domino effect, so let’s hope other companies follow Selfridges lead quickly.

Due to the domination of big brands and retailers in the UK, it’s expected that they take the initiative on this issue and lead the way.

7.    Greenpeace & WWF involvement adds weight

Another reason to support this campaign is that it is being supported and advised by two giants of the conservation world – Greenpeace and the WWF. Project Ocean has much more credibility by their involvement.

Greenpeace has decades of fighting environmental campaigns to protect our seas and oceans. They’re constantly running fish fight campaigns. As well as supporting Project Ocean, they are currently trying to get the tuna fishing industry to change its ways to protect sharks and turtles.

Similarly, the WWF is involved in multiple marine conservation projects, including their More Fish petition. This petition is calling on the European Union to end overfishing and to reform the Common Fisheries Policy. According to WWF scientists, in large parts of European waters 70% of stocks assessed are overfished.

Project Ocean, therefore, is supported by heavyweights in it’s campaign for sustainable fish.

8.    Raising the profile of other organisations – Marine Conservation Society, Seaweb and others

When a big campaign comes together like this, it means that other smaller but as worthy organisations get themselves thrust into the limelight. This is another sound reason to get behind Project Ocean.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) as discussed earlier are involved in a number of different campaigns across the UK and globally.

Thinking of going swimming this year whilst you’re on your British holiday? The MCS produces the Good Beach Guide, which is essential to know what beaches are deemed safe to swim in. This is an essential guide for anyone living in or visiting the UK.

You can find out more and support the MCS here.

Seaweb is another specialist advisor to Project Ocean. “Seaweb is the only international, nonprofit organisation exclusively dedicated to strategically communicating about ocean issues.” The presence of Seaweb adds scientific credibility to the Project Ocean campaign.

You can find out more and support Seaweb here.

Project Ocean has also brought together the likes of the Environmental Just Foundation and in total 26 partners, advisors and collaborators. It’s fair to say, therefore, that a lot of thought and effort has been put into this campaign to get the right people involved.

9.    Creativity – the Best of British

Another reason why we like Project Ocean at Green Abode is the amount of British creativity that has gone into the campaign. To inject this creative thinking into a sustainable fishing campaign gets a big nod from us.

Have you seen theProject Ocean home page? This is a fun way of showing the different types of fish in UK waters, and keeping tabs on real time donations to the campaign. Much effort has gone into this and the fish guide. If you’re in Oxford Street, London you must check out the Selfridges shop front windows. Always a classic at Christmas times, it has been decked out to support Project Ocean.

Project Ocean Organic Cotton T-Shirts

Project Ocean Organic Mens Cotton T-Shirts by Katherine Hamnett

Getting Katherine Hamnett on board to design the Project Ocean slogan t-shirts was an excellent idea. Us Brits who are now nearing 40 and upwards will remember these from the 1980’s as they spread like wildfire. They were worn by the big pop stars of their times Wham and later the design was copied by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

The t-shirts are designed on organic cotton and £10 of that money goes straight to the Zoological Society of London to set up and maintain marine reserves. None of the money from the t-shirts goes to Selfridges.


Throughout the whole month of the campaign there is a whole raft of Project Ocean events going on across food, art, film, music, talks and kids. These include screenings of the End of the Line, cooking demonstrations of sustainable fish and seafood recipes, and talks by Greenpeace.

Being supported by such a diverse range of creative arts and events brings together the best of British. As well as our maritime heritage, us Brits are famed for our creativity.

10.    Impact in the UK and worldwide

The Project Ocean campaign for sustainable fish and the protection of our oceans is popular at Green Abode as we think it will greatly influence the UK and go global.

In the case of Hugh’s Fish Fight, millions in the UK tuned in. Similarly, millions can keep in touch with the fish sustainability campaign via the Project Ocean web site. We would hope, therefore, that many in the UK will be able to get involved with the campaign.

It’s estimated that 40,000 daily customers in London’s Selfridges will be taken in by Project Ocean. By having Project Ocean in one of the world’s most popular retail hotspots, means that thousands of global visitors to London will see what’s going on. With the effort that’s gone into it Project Ocean, we hope that it will influence better sustainable fishing practices worldwide.

Project Ocean is a just and worthy cause to educate, inspire and influence us to think about sustainable fish and the health of our oceans. The combination of strong partnerships, the best of British and creativity means it has every chance to be a real success and leave a big impact on our thinking. Green Abode wishes them all the best with their campaign and hope it leads to action from all parties who need to change.