Sole of Discretion

Environment Partner

People have lived in balance with ocean ecosystems for thousands of years but the gifts of our blue planet are ebbing, a bountiful tide turned by overfishing, bycatch, and bottom trawling. Sole of Discretion is the first fishmonger in the UK to provide full traceability back to every boat, working with a shoal of fisherfolk between Helford and Eastbourne. Their boats are under 10m long, and 10 times more fuel efficient than larger vessels. Their gear collects coral and rock habitat mapping data, rather than ploughing the seabed. Their methods harvest a range of species and sizes, in balance with natural abundance rather than oversimplified ‘stock’ statuses. Back on land, Sole of Discretion pay pre-agreed prices and discard nothing, then label fish with transparent information on impact. The number of UK small-scale fishers has dived from 10,000 to 2,500 in just ten years: as a Community Interest Company, Sole of Discretion is casting a lifeline to those who still employ sustainable practices, but are punished by unsustainable systems such as quotas, politics and markets. This model was envisaged by a coalition of scientists, fishers, policy makers, restauranteurs, academics, ecologists and lawyers, and marine biology students continue to accompany boats. Their interdisciplinary solution is regenerating interdependent marine ecosystems that rely on the health of the whole – in a leap from the species- specific concerns of existing bodies like the MSC or MCS. As a result, Sole of Discretion is the only UK fishmonger with a Soil Association logo on its packaging, awarded for restoring flourishing communities above and below water.