Child holding undersized fish

Child holding an undersized fish during the “How Big is Yours?” campaign.

Oceans without fish– a potential reality when young fish are overharvested. This is the story of how a campaign to end overfishing implemented innovative strategies to reach millions of unlikely supporters, turn citizens into activists, and change public policy to protect three threatened fish species.

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  • Many integrated channels. It’s often necessary to use many communications channels to reach new people.
  • Humor. Done right, humor can help connect to new and larger audiences.
  • Adaptability & Experimentation. Celebrity sex videos, crowdsourced ad funding, virtual pet fish: the campaign was willing to try, innovate, learn and improve on the fly.
  • Know how your audiences engages. Mobile and SMS were important because Turkish citizens are already strong mobile users.

For most people, fish are food. Whether line caught or hauled up in a net, these ocean inhabitants are destined for our lunch boxes or dinner tables.

Sadly, there’s little concern for sustainability or appreciation of species inter-dependence. Those with a deeper understanding of the ocean know that even the healthiest populations of commercial fish would soon be decimated if the fishing industry pursued them with indifference to their lifecycle. Today’s fry (baby fish) are tomorrow’s meals — unless they are indiscriminately caught and killed along with mature fish. An alarming fact is that catching these undersized commercial fish is often legal. Catch-size laws even seem geared to allow for what is dismissed as inevitable if un-intended capture of the literal “small fry”.

Front of fish ruler

Front of fish ruler used for “How Big is Yours?” campaign.

No big deal to those of us giving our fillets a dollop of tartar sauce, right? But as this fishing philosophy continues, we notice smaller and smaller catches. Nets are netting less because so many fish fail to reach maturity.

We took some time to speak with the GP Med team did to achieve this success, which blended grassroots (or, maybe, oceanbed?) mentality with online and mobile technology. Extra doses of traditional messaging and old-fashioned activism added extra fuel. It’s provided a strong start to fish sustainability awareness and action.

Read the full Case Study now -> 

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