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Caugt in a gill net. Click to enlarge
Caught in a Tuna Net


























Manta Ray accidently  caught in Gill net.
Manta Ray
Turtle caught on back rope.
Turtle Caught
Hammerhead and another shark caught in Tuna nets.
Hammerhead Sharks
We dont need to do this. the Sea Lions dont deserve it.
Sea Lions caught in Nets

Another victim
Shark Accidently caught






How much money would all these fish be worth if they were left for the anglers to catch and release? Anglers come from all over the World to catch these fish and part with many $1000's of Dollars into the Local economy, Click on Image to see whats going on.





A sustainable catch of excellent human food or is it destined to become cheap fertilizer, pig food, or to supply fish pellets for the ever growing aquaculture section of the fishing industry.












Ever wondered how much the fish our fishermen catch is worth to them? Click this link to find out:

Bits and Bobs Commercial Fishing

There is absolutely nothing wrong in taking fish out of the seas, it is a healthy, potentially sustainable source of food for the worlds population if treated as a manageable resource. On land farmers give a little to take back a lot, woe betide the simple farmer that decides one lean winter, to eat the seed corn that he has put aside for his spring planting. Why do our fishermen and some Governments see our fishes as a never ending resource, a cash crop to be taken now with no thought for the future? If you take the breeding fish, just like your seed corn, where will the next crop come from? Sow the seeds and reap the harvest. Its kept the world going for always. Unfortunately the people that inhabit this modern world of ours today are greedy, Big business' own the fishing boats, Major supermarket chains have their own fleets of trawlers. Fish processing companies have their own boats that fish to order for the maximum tonnage of fish that fills a given factory's capacity or market alone. Almost gone are the days of father and son outfits just making a living from the sea. Worldwide 92 million tonnes of wild fish are landed annually. Around 3.5 million boats fish the seas and Oceans worldwide. Russia and US own the largest fleets of deepwater fishing boats. Japan and China consume the most fish.The worldwide total of wild caught fish at 92 million tonnes is a 4.5 fold increase since 1950, when about 20 million tonnes was caught.
The five countries in the table below caught nearly half the world total catch of fish in 2001. Britain ranked 21st at 0.7 million tonnes

China 16.5 million tonnes
Peru 8.0 million tonnes
US 4.9 million tonnes
Japan 4.7 million tonnes
Indonesia 4.2 million tonnes

Source: S Vannuccini (2003): Overview Of Fish Production, Utilization, Consumption And Trade. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Unit. Data include shell fish.

In the year 2003 some 681 thousand tonnes of sea fish were landed into the UK and abroad by the UK fishing fleet with a total value of £521 million. In addition the UK imported some £1437 million of fish. The UK also exported fish and fish products to the value of £891 million. The UK has a substantial fish processing industry of around 563 businesses, which employ some 18,480 people. At the retail level there were approximately 1.4 thousand fishmongers in the year 2003. 87.3 percent in volume and 88.2 percent in value, excluding canned produce was sold through supermarkets. Fish is also consumed in restaurants and in take away form, from fish and chip shops. A small proportion of the catch is used to make fish oils and animal feeds. Some of the species caught by UK fishing vessels find a better market abroad and these species are usually exported or landed directly abroad. In 2003, UK vessels landed directly into non-UK ports 187 thousand tonnes of sea fish with a value of £129 million.

British Sea Anglers contributed £1.4Billion to the coastal economy during the same period.

The text above is taken from United Kingdom sea fisheries statistics 2003. Don't forget this is only the official, recorded figures the Authorities know about. Under 10m boats don't have to record their catches, a lot of fish is landed directly to the public (Restaurant's etc.) Also there is the 'Black Fish' market, this is where they allegedly land very large catches directly to fish wholesaler's, generally in the middle of the night in some quite port, directly onto a lorry for cash, bypassing the quota system, market's (and the taxman) There is a court case going on in Scotland at the moment where honest fish wholesalers are suing the Scottish Fisheries Protection people for not addressing what they see as a massive problem. Uncontrolled, fishing fleets will empty the oceans of fish, mammals, birds, sharks and turtles, and destroy whole ecosystems. Concern about over fishing is widespread and growing.

Fishing boats use high technology equipment to hunt fish. So many fish are caught this way that populations of many fish species are decreasing in number and might become extinct. Fishing boats use huge deep nets which may be scores of miles long to sieve every living thing in their path - fish and non-target animals too. Fish living in deep water are adapted to survive great pressure acting on their body surface. When hauled up to the surface (where the pressure is far less) their internal organs can burst. This will stop the fish from being returned alive if they are 'out of quota' and the fishermen have to dump them back over the side, dead and uncounted. This makes a mockery of our governments stock recovery system which is supposed to limit the amount of fish harvested. Fishermen blame animals like Seals, Dolphins and fish-eating birds for their low catches, call for them to be culled and deliberately kill them. Fish, birds, marine mammals and smaller organisms depend on fish to eat. Commercial fishing takes so much of their food that they starve to death. Figures from the R.S.P.B. recorded that on the Shetland Isles for 2004 that there was not a single Puffin chick that survived from that years breeding season. This was because the parent Puffins could not find enough food for their chicks, this would have been Sandeels. Currently the TAC (total allowable catch or if you like quota) for the North sea for Sandeels is one million tons per year. Caught by what are called 'Industrial trawlers' these huge boats fish tiny mesh nets to supply the fish meal factories, the fish is turned into pellets for animal feed, fertilizer, fish oil etc. Denmark take the lions share.

Discarded plastic from our throwaway world is responsible for the deaths of countless marine animals, when it enters their environment it is often mistaken for food and eaten, this will stick in the digestive tract of all animals, eg fish Turtles and Otters, who then cannot digest their food and starve to death. Clear plastic is often found during autopsy's on dead Turtles, they mistake the plastic for jelly fish which are their main diet. Polystyrene cups, discarded from cruise ships and elsewhere by their thousands, will be found to have killed many a mature Cod, as they mistake them for Squid. A recent survey has established that any given sea area that contains 1 ton of Plankton will have within the same area 7 tons of plastic rubbish. On top of all this they have to live in a toxic soup of our chemical waste which we still dump in the seas worldwide, we are still finding out the consequences of doing this.

70% of the Worlds oxygen comes from the algae in the Oceans.

Brussels Fines French for Flouting Common Fisheries Policy
Fishing News2005

The European Court of Justice hit France with a massive recurring €57m fine for continually flouting European Union fishing controls. In only the second fine issued by the court against a member state, judges also ordered Paris to pay a one off €20m fine. The €57m penalty will be payable every 6 months until France complies with a 1991 court order to stop flouting Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) enforcement rules. The European Commission said that despite continual pressure, France has continued to lack 'effective monitoring and the control of the landing and marketing of undersize fish' and provide for 'dissuasive sanctions' against fishing boats found breaking EU rules.
Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said ''Our objective is to achieve sustainable fisheries to ensure the future of our fisheries sector. To do that, we need to respect the measures under the CFP. This court ruling confirms just that.'' He warned that there could be more fines ahead, noting that there are currently 81 fisheries infringement procedures pending against member states (Governments) failing to enforce the CFP. 61 involve over fishing, with governments failing to manage the quota system in most cases.

NOTE: France has ignored the original court order for the last 14 years. Do you think they will abide by the latest court? I'll let you know in 14 years time.


EU money earmarked for Mediterranean regions hit by fishing restrictions may now be used to expand their fleets, putting even more pressure on Europe's fish stocks. These funds from the new European Fisheries Fund (EFF) were designed to support communities in regions under threat from stock recovery restrictions. The European Parliament looks set to approve amendments tabled by MEP's from some southern European countries calling for the funds resources to be channeled into new vessels, refits and better equipment.

How can they agree to give money from a fund that was originally designed to give greater protection of the marine environment? You couldn't make it up.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society writes

In the Celtic Sea, south west of Britain, some 2,200 porpoises a year have been estimated to be killed in bottom-set gill nets. That is about 6% of the population – a level that cannot possibly be sustained. Bottom-set gill nets in the North Sea are also catching huge and unsustainable numbers of porpoises.
Pelagic (mid-water) trawlers, operating to the south and west of Britain and France are catching unacceptable numbers of Dolphins. While these fisheries are yet to be properly monitored, hundreds of dead Dolphins wash up on English and French beaches each year, often mutilated in an attempt to hide the evidence. These bodies suggest a total toll of thousands of animals.
The UK and other national governments and the European Commission have a responsibility – and a legal requirement under EU law – to monitor and address this problem – but to date they have failed to do so. The current review of the Common Fisheries Policy provides the opportunity to get this issue formally dealt with throughout Europe.
Please write to the UK Government (contact details below) asking both to introduce -
• Immediate measures to prevent known by catch problems such as in the Celtic Sea and North Sea gill net fisheries and in pelagic trawl fisheries in the Western Approaches.
• Compulsory monitoring of cetacean by catch, using independent observers, in all fisheries with the potential to catch cetaceans incidentally.
• A formal by catch response process for each identified by catch problem, involving fishermen and other stakeholders, to plan and implement management measures to achieve set by catch reduction targets.
• Closure of fisheries where bycatch reduction targets are not met.
• The institutional and policy changes necessary to achieve effective monitoring and mitigation of cetacean bycatch through the current review of the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

Ben Bradshaw MP
Fisheries Minister
The House of Commons

Some primary destructive methods of deep sea fishing.
Purse Seine Netting

A fishing vessel herds a large school of fish. It unwinds a huge fishing net which is pulled around the school by a small boat and back to the fishing vessel. The bottom of the net is then drawn shut or 'pursed' trapping the fish. The fish, Mackerel, Herring, Haddock (northern waters) or Tuna Sardines, Anchovies (7.2 million tons p.a) etc. in the Southern waters are the most common species caught by this method, the fish cannot escape over or under the net and the whole lot is winched onto the boat.
Purse seining is an indiscriminate method of accumulating fish. Other marine animals, such as sea turtles, sea birds, Dolphins and Seals, are trapped with them and die.

Gill nets

Gill netting is a simple, passive form of fishing that involves the setting of sheets of netting suspended vertically in the water with a float line at the top and a lead line at the bottom. The net's are made of single strand nylon monofilament, light, cheap, and invisible. Fish are caught by swimming into the net and becoming wedged within a mesh opening, or literally "gilled" by the mesh catching behind the gill covers. Another type of net, called a tangle net is often used. This is made up of 3 panels of gill net, with a much larger mesh on the outside than the inside mesh, when the fish try to push through, they form a pocket from which there will be no escape. Bottom-set gill nets are used to catch a wide variety of demersal species such as cod and Hake but there are many variations on this theme. For instance, tangle nets have little or no flotation so that they are extremely slack, and are more often used to catch species such as flatfish Crab, Lobster and Crayfish which are entangled rather than gilled. These nets are usually anchored so that they sit on the seabed. Drift nets are gill nets that are left to drift at or near the sea surface.
The use of gill nets has increased massively since the 1950s with the introduction of nylon yarns and particularly monofilament netting. Their use has also been actively promoted in coastal areas because of their low cost, ease of use and productivity, and they have became the most common type of fishing gear in coastal water's worldwide. Although gill nets are regarded by fisheries managers as very size-selective for the target fish, they can be very unselective at a species level, catching non-target fish and also marine mammals, Birds and Turtles. The durability of nylon gill nets also means that when they are lost at sea (which frequently happens) they may continue to trap fish (ghost fishing) for a long time, posing an additional by catch threat.
The Harbour Porpoise, in particular, has been found to be acutely prone to incidental capture in bottom-set gill nets in the north-east Atlantic and many other regions throughout its range. We in the South West see an unaceptable number of Porpoise and also large numbers of Dolphins killed anually in the 1100+km of gill and tangle nets (enough to stretch the length of the UK eight times over) used by British fishermen in the waters to the South West of England.

Drift Netting

A fishing vessel sets out a net at sea to hang down from the surface like a curtain. Drift netting was banned by UN resolution in the early 1990's.
Drift nets were described as 'walls of death' for marine mammals like Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises, Fur seals, non-target fish, sea birds, sea turtles and other creatures. Non-target animals could not break free of the net and died. Nets cast adrift remain a long-term lethal hazard for sea animals. Despite the ban, many Nations still have extensive fleets that still carry on this type of fishing.


The nets are used mainly by fishing fleets from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, to catch squid, Salmon and Tuna in the North and South Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Italian and Spanish ships are now also using this extremely destructive fishing method in the Mediterranean. Nicknamed "walls of death" these nets are made of a very strong monofilament (single strand) nylon mesh, and each net is between 8 - 12 meters deep and may be as long as 65 km, although usually between 32 - 40 km. The nets are often put into the sea at night, where they drift with the current, catching and killing anything that gets in their way, like huge underwater spiders' webs. This method of fishing is extremely wasteful. Not only is an estimated 40% to 50% of each catch lost when the net is hauled in, but uncounted numbers of fish are injured in the net and may escape only to die later.

Here is a magazine article, pleading with the Panamanian Government to stop the drift net Tuna boats from destroying their sport fishing. These Billfish could have generated millions of dollars for the local economy, they are caught on rod and line by paying anglers and are always returned alive to the sea. When this boat takes his quick profit, they are gone forever. Link to mag
These nets also catch many Dolphins, Whales, Seals, Turtles, Billfish and Seabirds which cannot easily see the almost invisible netting. In a study by Greenpeace, one Dolphin will be drowned for every 9 Tuna caught by this method in the South Pacific.

Ghost Nets

During fishing operations huge pieces of net often break away and continue killing, (usually by a ship cutting the net with it's propeller) until eventually it is believed the nets sink with the weight of the dead fish, Dolphins, Whales, Turtles and other creatures that get ensnared. These are known as "ghost nets". Japan admit's that about 17km of gill nets a night are lost from her own fishing fleet during the North Pacific drift net fishing season. More than 1500 large fishing vessels are using Gill or drift nets in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. Many of these nets are being used in important feeding and breeding areas for Whales, as well as across migration routes.


One, or a pair of fishing vessels working together drag a net over the ocean floor to catch bottom-living fish and shell fish. The mouth of a net can be a few or tens of meters across, depending on the power of the towing vessel. Trawls are also made above the sea floor for fish that live above it. A fishing vessel can also tow a rigid steel-framed dredge along the sea bed. Normally deployed for Shellfish (Scallops, Crab etc.)
Bottom trawling catches non-target animals, rips up sea bed habitat, plants, destroys coral reefs and the structure of the ocean bottom and leaves the habitat and everything in its way smashed.

Mid-water (pelagic) trawling.

Mid-water (pelagic) trawling is the process of deploying and towing a net at a chosen depth in the water column to catch schooling fish such as Bass, Herring and Mackerel. This differs from "bottom" (benthic) trawling in which a net is dragged along the ocean bottom where fish such as Cod, Haddock, and Plaice live.

Large mesh, typically 1.6m on the South coast of England, is used at the front end of mid-water trawl nets. This allows for very large net openings compared to wide, but vertically narrow bottom trawls. The large front end of the net "herds" schooling fish toward the back end where they become trapped in the narrow "brailer." Independently swimming fish could actually leave the trawl net at will at this stage but are reluctant to go through the 'hole's'.
To set the trawl, the net is unrolled from a "net reel" until it is completely in the water. The net is held open along the bottom with 1000 to 5000 pounds of "wing-tip" weights and "foot chain" under the "foot rope" which connects the wing tips. The sides of the deployed net are spread horizontally with two large metal foils, called "doors," positioned in front of the net. As the trawler moves forward, the doors, and therefore the net, are forced outward. Alternatively, two vessels working together as "pair trawlers" can pull a single net between them, enabling the use of a much larger net due to reduced drag from not using doors to keep the net open. (Some of the net's deployed by the bigger pair trawler's have been described as being 'large enough to encompass St. Paul's Cathedral, or 7 jumbo jet's!')

Once off the reel, the net is attached by cable to winches on each side of the ship. Net depth and position are controlled using both speed of the boat and amount of wire released. A good analogy is flying a kite where wind speed and line released determine height. However, the Skipper of a trawler cannot see what's happening in the net hundreds of meters behind and below the vessel. They must rely on an array of sophisticated electronics, such as sonar units attached to the net, to relay information about the net's shape, how the fish are shoaling, and how many fish have become entrapped in the net.
When the Skipper determines its time to "haul his net's" (as little as 10 minutes or as much as 8 hours after setting the net), the long tow cables are winched in and the net is spooled back onto the "net reel." A huge pump pipe is often dropped into the 'cod end' of the net, and fish are pumped into a de watering box and into holds below deck. A few trawlers bring the full net along one side then hoist small sections of the net for release on deck and into holds. This process is repeated until the net is emptied.

Bottom Trawling

Bottom trawling is the fishing practice of dragging large nets weighted with chains, roller or rock-hopper gear across the sea floor to catch ground fish species such as Cod, Haddock, Skate and all the flatfishes like Plaice and Sole. Bottom trawls are used throughout the World in sea's up to 1000 meters deep now!
Bottom trawls are primarily "otter" trawls that have steel doors designed to drag along the sea floor, keeping the mouth of the net open. The doors are connected to the fishing vessel by long bridles. The spread between trawl doors can range from 30–650 feet depending on the engine power of the towing vessel. A footrope forms the base of the net opening and it is often fixed with rolling disks and metal or rubber bobbins that enable the gear to bounce over the sea floor.
Rock-hopper gear is used for fishing in rocky and structurally complex habitats. Airplane tyres or rubber disks are fitted to the middle of the footropes, forming a continuous wall of rubber and steel cable. Bobbins, slightly different than disks, are also used and can weigh up to 22 lbs each.
Worldwide studies of the effects of bottom trawling have generally found that trawling reduces habitat complexity. These finding have been confirmed by studies conducted in any areas where bottom trawling takes place. In Alaska where extensive study's have been carried out, they have recognized that some habitats should not be trawled, fishery managers have protected selected areas from bottom trawling. Europe, however, have not done the same. Many sensitive habitats are still being destroyed due to the impacts of this fishing practice.

Effects of bottom trawling on sea floor habitat

Habitat features such as coral gardens, sponges, rocky ledges and pinnacles comprise the living sea floor and provide critical refuges for juvenile fish and crabs. They are valuable spawning and feeding grounds for adult fish. Alteration of habitat features can reduce fish populations and bio diversity, and compromise ecosystem processes.
A 2002 report, Effects of Trawling and Dredging on Sea floor Habitat, by the National Research Council states that:
• Bottom trawling and dredging reduce habitat complexity.
• Repeated trawling and dredging change sea floor communities.
• Bottom trawling reduces the productivity of sea floor habitats.
• Marine species that live in stable environments, such as deep water corals and sponges, are generally more susceptible to damage.
Specific research in Alaska has found that:
• Bottom trawling in the "primary broodstock refuge" for Bristol Bay red king crab during the early 1980s drove the collapse of the population and continued trawling in this area has kept the population at low levels for the past 20 years.
• Dense groves of sea whips around Kodiak Island that are closed to trawling have 33% more juvenile Tanner crab and an increased abundance of important prey species as compared to nearby areas open to trawling.
• Each year, approximately 40 metric tones of cold water corals are taken as by catch by bottom trawlers in the North Pacific region. Corals provide habitat for adult and juvenile rockfish.
• The single pass of a bottom trawl can destroy large amounts of coral, sponge and other habitat-forming marine life. This habitat damage can take decades to centuries to recover.
Recognizing the importance of marine habitat to productive fisheries and healthy ecosystems, Congress amended the Magnuson-Stevens Act requiring fisheries managers to designate essential fish habitat (EFH). Managers must also evaluate the scale of fishery impacts in light of where, when, and how long they occur, distinguishing between effects that are "minimal and temporary" versus those that are severe and long lasting.
Grappling with the complexities of fishing gear effects on habitat has been a challenge for scientists, managers, and fishermen alike. But understanding the effects of fisheries on habitat is critical to the long term health of the marine ecosystem.
Sea floor structures such as rock formations, sea whip groves and coral and sponge gardens provide key habitat for a variety of bottom-dwelling fish and crab. Fish, especially juveniles, find shelter from deep sea currents and predators in complex habitats. Bottom trawls are known to damage and destroy these habitats, removing refuges and food, and threatening fish populations and other marine life.
Fishery managers need to protect sensitive marine habitats from bottom trawling. Dragging large nets through sea floor habitats is not conducive to a healthy marine ecosystem and the long term sustainability of any fisheries.
The debate is not whether or not bottom trawls damage marine habitats, but rather how much impact a healthy ecosystem can sustain. All the marine conservation group's that have sent down diver's and submersible vehicle's to witness the destruction of a very delicate environment support the limiting of bottom trawling to those areas in which its impact on habitat is minimal. Will our Government's act before it is ALL gone?

Click on the video button to see some film of a deepwater trawler's haul, this contains many species that we know very little about. How can we allow these people to keep taking fish from a very fragile and sensitive area, just because they have developed a method that will allow them to fish up to 1000m deep?

Long line Fishing

Long heavy nylon lines with thousands of baited hooks, set to sink to the bottom in Northern waters, (Turbot, Bass, Cod, Haddock,Skate), or just below the water surface for the Southern species, (Tuna, Marlin, Snapper, Swordfish, Shark). Long lines catch high-quality, high-value fish. Lines extend for dozens of kilometers, some over 100 km. Hundreds of shorter lines can branch from the main line. Lines are hauled back on board by a winch. Many tonnes of fish can be caught before returning to port. Long lining kills non-target animals, including hundreds of thousands of seabirds annually from dozens of species, like Albatross, Petrel and Fulmar. Seabirds seize the bait as the line is unwound, get hooked and are pulled down and drown when the line sinks.

Long lining is considered by many conservationists to be the best way forward when exploiting the sea. True that it does not have the same impact on the sea floor as trawlers do, But this method continues to have an unacceptable bycatch of unwanted species. These pictures will tell you that it can also be a very destructive method for the fish in the wrong hands ............ To be continued.

Use of dynamite for killing fish

Inspectors of Salmon Fisheries
Buckland, Frank; Walpole, S.
Inquiries were held in Cornwall, Nottinghamshire and Portland. Those in Cornwall were regarded as being illustrative of the effects of dynamite on sea fish generally, while those in Nottinghamshire were illustrative of the effects on fresh-water fish. Having considered the effects of dynamite on fish, the inspectors noted that many of those which were killed sank and were never recovered, whilst the fish which were recovered were not in so perfect a condition as those killed in the ordinary way.
They concluded that the use of dynamite - which had increased rapidly over the last few months and was continuing to do so - was injurious for 4 reasons: (1) it destroyed more fish than could actually be taken from the water; (2) it destroyed fish without reference to either their size or condition; (3) the fish were inferior as articles of food; (4) in the case of sea fish, it frightened the fish from the coasts. Consequently they recommended that the use of dynamite in this way be made illegal. There was no law at that time under which the use of dynamite in the sea could be stopped. It could be prevented however in fresh water under the Larceny Consolidation Act or the Malicious Injuries to Property Act, and it was recommended that the penalties for breach of this should be severe. They suggested that in the event of fresh legislation being introduced regarding the use of dynamite for killing fish, it should be extended to include every other explosive.
Appointed April, signed July, 1877

A fisherman has launched a one-man crusade to build up stocks of a shellfish considered a delicacy in top restaurants.
Howard Jones wants to establish a voluntary "no-take zone" around the Mewstone at Wembury, near Plymouth, creating a safe hatchery for the endangered European spiny lobster, also know as a crawfish.
He is currently keeping ten crawfish in tanks housed in a tiny shed on Plymouth breakwater. He hopes they will be re homed in the planned 2.5 square kilometer protected area. Five of the creatures - caught in the Isles of Scilly - are "berried", or with eggs.
Unlike a similar scheme at Lundy Island, off North Devon, where the no-take policy is enforced by law, the success of the project would depend on the goodwill of local fishermen, potters, anglers, spear-fishermen and divers.
Mr Jones, a keen diver and spear-fisherman himself, hopes to convince them that by allowing the crawfish to breed, there will one day be rich pickings on the peripheries of the zone. Crawfish can fetch up to £50 a kilo in top restaurants.
The name of the scheme - Project 180 - signifies Mr Jones's "U-turn" from spear-fishing to protecting fish stocks. He was inspired to act after seeing a photograph of his uncle, Ray Ives, and his daughter Samantha holding two giant crawfish, caught off Wembury beach in the early 1970s. Crawfish can grow up to 2ft long and weigh 13lb.
Mr Jones said: "I know very few people who have spent as much time under the water as myself, yet I have never seen a crawfish in the wild off the coast of Devon. We have wiped them from our shores."
Chris Venmore, chairman of Devon Sea Fisheries and secretary of the South Devon and Channel Shell fishermen, was sceptical about whether a voluntary no-take agreement could be effective.
He said Devon Sea Fisheries had been considering the matter for a year and talking to conservation bodies and fishermen about the possibility of marking out a statutory no-take zone. "Unless you have some sanctions, you can't enforce anything," he said. "There will always be unscrupulous people who will benefit at the expense of those who want to conserve things. We would have liked to have put forward firm proposals in the hope of going ahead along the lines of the no-take zone at Lundy Island. This must be achieved in co-operation with those who already fish in the area."
Jim Portus, chief executive of the South West Fish Producers Organisation, said: "I certainly believe no-take zones have a place in fisheries, as long as they are properly researched, they have a purpose and the area has got the support of the fishing industry."
He said two areas covered by a voluntary arrangement in Lyme Bay, set up to protect temperate water corals, were working well.
Mr Jones said: "I've tried to choose an area that is large enough to make a difference but not so large that there is nowhere left to pot or fish."
He plans to mark the no-take zone with yellow buoys and signs on the shore. In and around the zone, he has identified five areas 30m by 30m where he hopes local dive clubs and Plymouth marine biology university students might carry out monitoring of marine life.
The idea has received a cautious welcome from conservation bodies.
Richard Stanford, marine conservation officer for the Devon Wildlife Trust, said Mr Jones's proposal "seemed exciting". But he added: "In these things, process is everything. The moment you start telling people they can't do something, it gets their backs up. It seems like a good idea and something fishermen might support. We certainly would."
Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, biodiversity policy officer for the Marine Conservation Society, said steps should be taken towards enforcing a ban one day. "The problem with the voluntary scheme is that it only takes one rogue element to come in and take away everything everyone else is trying to protect," he said.
For further information, visit

10 October 2005
Campaigners fighting to overturn government legislation which they claim will lead to a rise in Dolphin deaths today heard that the The High Court challenge to overturn the legislation has been rejected.. Greenpeace was battling to overturn law's brought in by Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw to ban pair trawling within 12 miles of the Westcountry coastline.
They claim the rule's, designed to stop dolphins being killed when they are caught in the huge Bass nets dragged between the pair's of boat's, will only lead to more marine death's.
Protesters say the bulk of Cetacean (Dolphin) activity takes place more than 12 miles off the shore.
The no-go zone would only serve to push the fishery into the area where there is more Dolphin activity, but would make it less likely for the carcase's to wash up on beaches in Devon and Cornwall as evidence, they claimed.
But the organization is claiming a partial victory after Mr Justice Stanley Burnton recognized there was "no firm scientific basis" for the no-go zone.
Greenpeace oceans campaigner Willie Mackenzie said: "We always knew that the 12-mile ban was a political fig leaf to try and placate those people who want dolphins protected, while allowing fishing to carry on as normal. Now this High Court ruling has exposed this conservation measure as a sham."
Mr Mackenzie said Greenpeace was pushing for the Government to ban bass pair trawling in all its waters, which stretch midway into the English Channel. He said the government refused to do so because of fears of the precedent the move would set for other fisheries.
Protesters claim the 12-mile ban, imposed by Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw last year to reduce the number of Dolphins and Porpoises being killed in fishing nets, would only lead to the deaths of more cetaceans. They say the majority of Dolphin activity is beyond the 12-mile zone. Pushing out pair trawlers, who fish for Bass using massive nets drawn between two boats, would force them further into the Dolphins' habitat, they say. Greenpeace claims 2,000 Dolphins are killed each year as a result of the fishery. The organization claims the 12-mile ban's only function would be to ensure fewer carcasses washed up on Westcountry beaches, as evidence of the damage to marine life.
Yesterday, the judge gave the organization permission to appeal against his ruling to the Court of Appeal. He indicated any appeal should be heard as a matter of urgency, before the next Bass fishing season began.
Greenpeace had suggested that the Government's motive for ordering the pair-trawling ban within 12 miles of the coast was "improperly political" and aimed at giving the "false" impression that the Government was taking effective action to save Dolphins.
Dismissing the suggestion, the judge said in a written statement: "I find that the minister was genuine in seeking to reduce cetacean mortality." He said the minister regarded the ban as "a small step" that would "help a little bit", even though there was "no firm scientific basis" for it.
In another move hailed by campaigners, the judge refused to order Greenpeace to pay Government legal costs.
He said: "It is important that there should be free access to the courts when genuine questions are raised as to the lawfulness of Government actions."
Mr Bradshaw said he was "delighted'' the court had rejected Greenpeace's action. He said: "It always seemed odd to me that Greenpeace was wasting its supporters' money trying to reverse a decision aimed at saving dolphins and porpoises." He said the Government had done more than any other country to tackle the problem. "This judgment vindicates the action taken," he said.
"I remain committed to reducing bycatch of common dolphins, and in particular, to seeking effective community action to tackle this problem."
Greenpeace is now considering whether to lodge an appeal.


Fishing - UKIP article
The end of British fishing William Huggins

The much-heralded Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) 'reforms' are nothing of the sort. That they have been projected as such is merely EU 'spin', aimed at disguising the true nature of the package announced in Brussels this week. They are actually the final stage of the implementation of the CFP which was launched in 1972 - as the price of Britain's entry to the (then) Common Market - and then further extended in 1982 under the Thatcher administration and then again in 1992 under John Major.
But, in a manner characteristic of EU legislation, full implementation was delayed - by way of what is known as a derogation - until 1 January 2003, the fact of which has triggered these so-called reforms. The Commission is now obliged to put in place the full provisions of the CFP and has proposed new legislation to that effect. But, because of the horrendous implications of the proposals, they have been camouflaged by the rhetoric of 'reform'
At the core of these proposals is the concept known as "equal access". This means that the fishing fleets of all EU member states are to be allowed into what are known in EU jargon as "community waters", according to their relative degree of economic dependence on the fisheries sector. This term may sound highly technical, but to understand the full implications of the proposals, it is necessary to come to grips with this and another technical concept - the EU jargon phrase: "relative stability".
Stripped down to its essentials, what happened in 1972 when premier Ted Heath gave away Britain's fishing grounds - which amount to 80 percent of what were termed "community waters" - as a price of our entry to the (then) common market, fishermen were allowed to take fish in accordance to historic performance. Thus, those who traditionally fished in certain areas were allowed to continue, taking the same proportion of the catch in relation to the total as they always had - hence "relative stability".
But this was only a temporary arrangement. Waiting in the wings was the full agreement, finalized to coincide with the accession of Spain to the EU. This was a truly shabby agreement where countries would be allowed into the whole area of the "community waters", not in accordance with traditional arrangements but in according to the size of their fleets. And, since Spain had by far the greatest economic dependence of fishing, it was to be allowed the lion's share of the catch. That is the true meaning of "equal access".
Meanwhile, in a further series of shady deals, British and other northern European fleets have been progressively scaled down through a series of cuts. These cuts have been carefully disguised as "conservation" measures but in fact have been designed to clear the waters for the arrival of the Spanish and other southern European countries. They, on the other hand, have been generously funded with our taxpayers' money, channeled via the EU, to expand and modernize their fishing fleets.
Thus, the current proposals for a 29% cut in tonnage across the UK, compared to 11% for Spain's larger fleet, and less than 2% for Greece, are merely a continuation of a process that started over 20 years ago and form part of a long-agreed plan.
This, itself, is bad enough, in isolation, but the detail is even worse - especially for west country fishermen. Struan Stevenson MEP (Conservative, Scotland, itself an endangered species) has negotiated a continued derogation for the Shetland Box, an area which is fished almost exclusively by the large, corporate trawlers, many Norwegian owned and built with Norwegian government subsidy.
This deal means that these large, modern trawlers will escape the cuts, yet they make up up to a third of all British fisheries tonnage. With these taken out of the equation, the 29% cut actually translates to an almost 50% cut in tonnage across the rest of the fleet, with the brunt borne by the small, independent fishermen.
There is also an unintended side-effect of this disproportionate protectionism of large financial interests. The big 'deep-sea' trawlers have the largest proportion of 'discards' among their catch, so, by excluding them from decommissioning, it is estimated that the 29% tonnage reduction will amount to only a 14% decrease in catch size. Hardly the best way to achieve a recovery in the disastrously depleted fish stocks.
So what does this mean for the fishermen of the southwest? Without question, they have become an endangered species. With the cynicism we have come to expect of all politicians, fisheries minister Elliot Morley concedes that the cuts will be tough. But they are more that "tough". For Devon and Cornwall's already beleaguered fishing industry, it means effectively a further halving of numbers over the next few years. The spectre of burning boats along the shores has become a reality.
Nevertheless, we should not be surprised by this. Despite much talk of environmentalism, consumer protection and accountability, the European Union is about none of these things. These sham 'reforms' expose the true driving force behind the EU. At its heart is a deal to 'lock-in' previously Fascist Spain into the supposedly 'democratic' community of the EU, bribing their fishermen and politicians with bounty from of British fishing waters.
Behind that is the politics of money and big business, and the politics of election. In Elliot Morley's eyes, the southwest does not vote Labour. In Struan Stevenson's eyes, Cornwall is a long way from Scotland so its fishermen are, as Ted Heath once contemptuously declared, "politically insignificant".
The worst of it all is the sheer hypocrisy. While the EU bleats about "overcapacity" and "too many fishermen chasing too few fish", its own policies have created a world-class ecological disaster, causing mass unemployment in traditional fishing communities and a catastrophic depletion of fish stocks.
Instead of acting in the interests of British fishermen, successive governments have willingly surrendered of control of our waters to foreign powers, and allowed this to happen, all the while conspiring with the EU to pretend that the resulting disaster is somehow the fault of the fishermen. But, with the final act of the CFP being put in place, chickens are coming home to roost. While British boats burn, Spanish trawlers will be reaping the harvest of our seas, and there will be no disguising the scale of the sell-out.
So, what are our options? As it stands, we are bound by EU treaty obligations which have been freely entered into by a succession of Conservative governments. Those obligations are absolute, as long as we remain within the EU. However, despite our surrender of powers to the EU, our Parliament still remains sovereign and, at any time, collectively, our MP's can decide to withdraw from those obligations, by leaving the EU.
Clearly, this is the only option left if southwest fishermen are to survive. MP's of all parties should do their duty by their own electors. If they do not, there will come a time when we should elect those who will. Until we do, our fishermen will continue to be nothing more than pawns which the government can sacrifice for political gains elsewhere, regardless of the misery they cause.