Monday, 17 September 2012

The CFP chalks up another success

To be fair, the Sunday Telegraph sub-editors do not. The article about a report on cod in the North Sea has a shock horror title: Just 100 cod left in the North Sea. Did they count everyone, is the obvious question to ask.

Towards the end of the piece we find out that

None of the catches recorded at North Sea ports around Europe showed any fish aged 13 or over. Analysis of that data suggests there are fewer than 100 such fish in the whole North Sea.

Possibly so, though even that remains problematic as evidence. The problem as recorded of cod not growing to the size it ought to grow is one that has been repeated over and over again at meetings of Save Britain's Fish, back in the days it seemed like having meetings at party conferences was a good idea because people might listen. (To be fair, people did listen but the party leaders did not and nothing and no-one could explain matters to them. That remains true.)

With each quota agreement over the years the minimum size of fish was reduced thus enabling the fishing of juveniles. It is, surely, inevitable that if you fish out the juveniles, there will be fewer big fish; it is also inevitable that if you have a system that is centralized across many countries and decisions about fishing are made for political reasons, you are going to have agreements to pacify the fishermen of countries who shout loudest for small fish.

For the time being the solution as called for by "scientists" and, apparently, the NFFO is to take more ships out of commission and pay fishermen compensation. The problem is that this solution has been put forward and implemented over and over again and the results have not been what we might have wanted if the recent report is accurate. Is it not time to start thinking of some other way of solving the problem of North Sea fish. Of course, nothing much can be done while we stay in the CFP.


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