The WWF’s heart was in the right place. “We’ll create a cute fish puppet,” they must have reasoned, “and it’ll help educate people about sustainable seafood! You know, stuff like which species are overfished, and whether farmed fish are better than wild. It’ll be great!” Thus, the googly-eyed, plump-lipped Stinky Fish was born.
Problem is, says Mark Powell at Blogfish, while Stinky Fish is supposed to push sustainable seafood, the character “isn’t exactly pro-seafood and even his name says fish is bad. I don’t think Stinky Fish will get anyone to eat more of anything.” A video featuring Stinky Fish showed the puppet haranguing people eating at a seafood restaurant over sustainability issues, in a voice as grating as sand in an oyster. “It’s reminiscent of your least-favorite ocean environmentalist who strikes fear into the heart of dinner companions who dare order fish,” Powell writes. “At one point, Stinky confides the truth that he doesn’t even eat fish.”
The Marine Stewardship Council, which promotes responsible fishing practices, agreed, and last night it pulled permission for its logo to be used in the Stinky Fish campaign, and apologized “to all those partners and colleagues in the seafood industry who work extremely hard to ensure sustainable and legal fishing that results in high quality seafood products in the market.”
The Stinky Fish video has been removed from YouTube and an addendum has been added to the bottom of the WWF page. The addendum links to “outakes” in which Stinky Fish pickets a pizza joint, tries to rally some dead crabs, and yells at a fish and chips monger in a manner reminiscent of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Yep, it’s annoying.