Most people in the UK want fish that comes from sustainable, not overfished sources, according to research commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The WWF said today (13 April) that the UK government should feel “confident” that it has overwhelming public support for taking action to help fish stocks recover, after some 79% of respondents to a YouGov poll said they want the fish to come from sustainable sources.

The survey found support from some 66% of respondents to reform the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy to ensure the recovery of fish stocks and also allow future generations to make a living from the sea.

According to the survey, less than one quarter of respondents think there is adequate information on whether fish products come from well-managed sustainable stocks.

The WWF said that the UK figures are part of a Europe-wide survey which shows similar levels of support from other member countries.

“It is now clear that the overwhelming majority of the public want the fish they buy to come from sustainable sources. This can only be achieved by reforming the outdated rules which dictate how much fish is taken from our seas – the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). In its current form this has taken short term decisions that have failed to protect threatened fish stocks and those communities that depend upon them,” said WWF director of campaigns David Norman.

Speaking about the study’s findings, Young’s Seafood said that it welcomed the poll, adding that its research has found that consumers now want a “greater variety of ways to enjoy sustainably sourced fish”.

“Having campaigned against discards for many years, we share our consumers’ enthusiasm for progressive reform of the Common Fisheries Policy,” said CEO Leendert den Hollander.