Sustainable Fish Stamp Issue from Royal Mail

by Sergio Penzo

We hope this stamp issue goes a long way to help people make informed choices about sustainability and conservation of UK fish stocks.

Royal Mail has launched a Sustainable Fish Special Stamps issue. Launched on World Environment Day, the stamps are the first ever by Royal Mail to have been produced to help champion a consumer message around an environmental issue – that of sustainable fishing in British waters. The 10-stamp set highlights the beauty of marine fish as well as providing guidance and encouragement to consumers on how to conserve UK fisheries. Many familiar fish are severely threatened due to a variety of factors including overfishing. This stamp issue raises awareness of the threat and also provides a sustainable alternative.

The five species illustrated are fish that are currently threatened in UK waters. This includes Common Skate, Spiny Dogfish (sometimes called Rock Salmon), Wolfish, Sturgeon, and Conger Eel.  However, Herring, Red Gurnard, Dab, Pouting, and Cornish Sardine are species from sustainable populations which provide viable alternatives for fisheries and consumers. 

The plight of fisheries has caused increasing public concern in recent years. Some organizations offer advice to consumers on which seafood to purchase and supermarket chains actively informing their customers about making informed choices. 


Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation, University of York, who acted as consultant for Royal Mail on the stamp issue said: “Marine protected areas that are off limits to fishing could recover endangered species like those on the stamps as well as providing a boost to the fishing industry through recovered stocks. Only one thousandth of 1% of UK seas is fully protected from fishing at present.  To bring back endangered fish species we need a huge increase in the coverage of such protected areas.”


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