Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Jonathan Shaw, UK Environment Minister is planning to lobby the EU for an increase in cod quotas for the UK next month when they meet to decide 2008s quotas.
Predictably researchers, including the EU's advisers, say stocks are still too low.
Helen MacLachlan of the pressure group WWF UK complained: “I would say that 'business as usual' in the North Sea is not an acceptable position for a minister to be taking,"
"To be looking for an increase in cod quotas without changing fishing practices is unsustainable and untenable."
Callum Roberts of York university critiscised him saying; “If he's suggesting increases in cod quotas then he doesn't seem to be fully in control of his brief yet”
Their comments go with the ‘accepted wisdom’ of those who never actually do any fishing and rely entirely on theory.
Shaw may well have a point though.
Although it is seldom spoken of the UK has done rather badly out of the EU over fishing.
In order to be allowed the dubious ’benefits’ of joining the EU, the Government gave away fishing rights over the UK’s territorial waters it had formerly enjoyed - to allow them to be effectively plundered by European fishermen, to the detriment of our own. This over use helped damaged the stocks and devastated the UK fishing industry.
North Sea cod numbers appear to have experienced a small recovery in the last few years.
Also the fact is that the current EU quota system results in the needless killing and dumping of tons of cod. Thanks to the law of unintended consequences. When fishermen go hunting for prawn they often catch cod as well. If they are over their cod ‘quota’ these dead cod have to be dumped back into the sea.
So in fact many more cod are caught and killed than those setting the quotas realise and the quotas actually result in the appalling waste of tons of cod.