wondered how much the fish our fishermen catch is worth
to them? Click
this link to find out:
and Bobs Commercial Fishing
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
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.
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
Sea Anglers contributed £1.4Billion to the
coastal economy during the same period.
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.
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
Fines French for Flouting Common Fisheries Policy
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.
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.
A MAD MAD WORLD.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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
• Bottom trawling reduces the productivity of sea
• 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
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
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
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
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
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
ONE MAN'S CRUSADE TO SAVE CRAWFISH
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
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
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
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 www.project180.co.uk
DOLPHIN CHALLENGE IS REJECTED
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
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
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.
THIEVING SCUM STEAL LAST of BRITAIN's FISH
- UKIP article
The end of British fishing William Huggins
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
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
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
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.