We have had occasion to mention on this blog, Chris Davies, the Liberal-Democrat MEP, a man, we pointed out, whose CV shows him to have been in politics or political PR all his working life. Nowadays, of course, he is, at least, on his own account an expert on fishing, having set up the inanely named (yes, yes, we are repeating ourselves) committee, Fish for the Future.
Not so long ago, Mr Davies, made a few of his usual self-promoting comments on the subject of fish on his website.
There is a great deal about how much he and his colleagues are doing to promote the so-called CFP reform, though there is even more about it not really going anywhere and nor can it (though Mr Davies will never admit it) while there is a centralized European fisheries policy, whose aim is to assert that the fishing waters are European.
Then there are attacks on UKIP and their leader, Nigel Farage MEP. It is to be noted that these attacks have increased recently and have been used instead of arguments by various Conservative politicians, especially MEPs. One can only surmise that they are worried about UKIP making inroads among people they consider to be "their" supporters.
Nigel Farage MEP is the leader of UKIP and a member of the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee, although he has yet to attend a single meeting. UKIP is opposed to British membership of the EU and therefore also to the CFP. Amendments to this effect can be tabled but they will be opposed by more than 90% of MEPs and will be lost. So what will Nigel Farage and UKIP do then?
The Fisheries Committee is almost evenly divided between reformers and those who oppose change. Having had his chance to vote for his beliefs, and lost, will Farage support positive reforms to create a more sustainable policy, will he vote against them, or will he abstain and risk reform being lost? By the way, Britain's fish stocks were declining at a dramatic pace even before we joined the 'Common Market' some 40 years ago, so let there be no pretence that everything was wonderful then.
Mr Davies then invites his readers to write to Mr Farage and put those questions to him.
It might be a good idea if Mr Farage's potential correspondents pondered the following response from Roddy McColl, who is the Secretary of FAL and a man who has forgotten more about the CFP than Mr Davies is ever likely to learn:
Good Afternoon Mr Davies
I noticed in your April 2012 Reply to “Fish Fighter” your assertion that “By the way, Britain's fish stocks were declining at a dramatic pace even before we joined the 'Common Market' some 40 years ago, so let there be no pretence that everything was wonderful then”.
I took advice from Marine Scotland Science regarding this as I suspected it was incorrect. That has been confirmed with one species exception namely North Sea herring which by this time was in serious decline and by mid- late 70's the fishery was closed.
However 40 years ago we had very big stocks of cod, haddock, whiting and saithe (gadoid outburst was at this time). Mackerel was also fine.
In several cases fishing mortality was on the rise but it is wrong to say stocks were in trouble.
If you have scientific evidence to support your assertion I would be pleased to see it otherwise I trust that you will not repeat incorrect views and that you will inform Fish Fighter of the error.
Roddy McColl Secretary The Fishermen’s Association Ltd
So far, we have heard nothing from Mr Davies and, apparently, no correction appeared.