The National Federation of Fishermen's Organization has sent a rather stiff letter to the Sunday Times about the story covered by this blog about there being an ever decreasing number of cod in the North Sea. They are accusing the journalists of being dishonest with their reporting and of ignoring the long and detailed briefing they had from officials of the NFFO.
While we find it odd that the NFFO finds it necessary to insert an irrelevant reference to Martin Luther King, we do think it would be useful for our readers to go through the entire article as published by Fishupdate. com.
The NFFO’s chief executive Barrie Deas has now sent its response to Jonathan Leak, which says: “When Chris Darby from Cefas and I spoke to you for hours on Friday afternoon, it was in the perhaps naive hope that this week’s edition of the Sunday Times would turn away from its relentlessly one-sided and negative campaign on fishing. We were of course disappointed. The whole of the front page article failed to mention the most salient points about the North Sea cod stock: that it is rebuilding steadily; that here has been a dramatic reduction in the fishing rate for cod; and even with lower than average recruitment, the spawning stock biomass has increased annually for six years.
Then comes the really important paragraph.
Chris and I spoke to you about the high levels of cooperation between the fishing industry and fisheries scientists through fisheries science partnerships and the ICES benchmark process; we spoke to you about the many different initiatives underway to rebuild the cod stocks, including real time closures and the catch quota trials; we told you about the failure of blunt measures such as restricting time at sea and quota reductions and the subsequent moves towards more intelligent ways of fishing; we told you of the stupidity of scaring consumers from eating cod in the UK when some 80% of cod comes from the buoyant stocks at Iceland and North Norway – and always has done; we also told you about the media’s negative role in pushing the European Commission and Council into two ill-considered and consequently inadequate cod recovery plans.
Just think how much better it would all develop if all fisheries decisions could be taken by those concerned rather than the European Commission and Council for political reasons and under pressure from an ignorant media.