Friday, December 22

Cruel Quotas

The latest fisheries resolution came out of Brussels early this morning.

The cruelty comes because it is the time at which the crucial decisions on quotas for the coming year are made, under the EUs Common Fisheries Policy – a policy which is not only morally but also technically wrong – invariably bringing woe to hard-pressed fishermen, just at a time when everyone else is preparing for the Christmas festivities

Each year this ritual, held in the the killing fields of the Brussels council chamber, where they participate in the slow, inexorable execution of the British fishing industry.

All of us lose, the whole nation, as we see an industry which could be worth £3 billion plus ground into oblivion, currently worth about half a billion and declining each year.

It says something that the agriculture minister of Cyprus has a say in the management of British waters, but the ultimate farce, or insult if you prefer, is Joe Borg, fisheries commissioner, the man in charge of British fishing - he is from Malta

There is plenty of coverage on the internet – Google News has nearly 200 reports – from which this is a representative sample,
here, here and here.

As the
man from Scotland says, "it's another nail in the coffin", while Ross Finnie twitters - as he always does, every year – "I think it's the best deal there was available." If the EU Commision stripped his stripped his shirt and underpants from him as he walked out of the Council chamber he would still say the same.

Of all the comments the one to highlight comes from the
BBC website, citing Dr Bryce Beukers-Stewart, Fisheries Policy Officer for the Marine Conservation Society, who makes the point that It is astounding that the EU continues to persist with this doomed approach to fisheries management.

These marginal adjustments to the quotas for cod around the UK have been going on for at least the last 20 years, but the fish stocks themselves are going down much faster. This is hardly surprising, as the quotas still allow for at least 60 percent of the fish to be removed each year - what chance does that give for recovery?

What is needed, he says, is a much more creative and proactive approach to improving the selectivity of fishing gear and practices to reduce the bycatch of unwanted or under-fire species such as cod.

There was actually
such an approach proposed by the Conservative Party, which was gathering strength until the current leader junked the policy.

So is there a light at the end of the tunnel ? Yes it is a huge express train, with the letters “EU” emblazoned on it front, bearing down on us. There is no hope for the British fishing industry, no hope at all.

The picture above says it all: as the sun sets on the industry, the "Single European Fish" is now that much closer to reality.

Photos: (Approprioatly) from the Council of the European Communities -will be attached as soon as blogger allows.

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