Fish Fight

By , 17 January, 2011 00:38

I won’t normally include political issues on this blog, as it is generally just a journal for my fishing activities. However, on this is issue, I feel it right that I post it here. I’m not and don’t pretend to be an expert on commercial fishing, in fact, I have very little knowledge on the subject but to any normal ‘Joe Bloggs’ like myself, the insanity of fish discards as dictated by the European Union (EU) Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has to stop and the CFP itself must be radically over-hauled.

For the un-initiated and in the simplest of terms, the issue revolves around the present quota system and ‘discards’. The quota system set by the CFP, is intended to protect fish stocks by setting limits on how many fish of a certain species should be caught. All boats have this quota and once that quota for a species (cod for example) is reached on a boat, no more may be landed. In this example, if the boat skipper catches his cod quota and then goes to another area to fish for say, sole, he will inevitably catch more cod as they inhabit similar grounds. As he is over quota for cod, any he catches must now be discarded over the side, as by law he cannot land it in any port  – even though it is already dead. This means that millions of tons of  prime fish is going to waste and cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered as ‘protecting stocks’.

There no exact figures but the EU estimates that in the North Sea alone, discards run at between 40% and 60% of the total catch. This waste has to stop and the only way to do it is for the EU to completely re-think the CFP.

There is now a new campaign against this massive, criminal waste being run by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Details can be found here and at the campaign website Fish Fight. You can do your bit by going to the site, signing up and showing your support.

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