Tuesday, 29 January 2013

How many times does one have to say it?

The Common Fisheries Policy is a big part of the problem. The reason is obvious: it is a centralized decision-making process that involves twenty-seven countries, many of whom do not have a vested interest, and a great deal of political bargaining. Proposed delegation to local and regional bodies will not change the basic principle as these decisions will still be taken within the framework provided centrally. Only by exiting from the CFP and adopting our own policies that will take meaningful decision making further down the chain can the situation be salvaged. (Here is one possible plan to follow.)

At the Davos Conference this was voiced clearly by the President of Iceland.

Iceland's president has dismissed the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy as a "colossal failure" as some 75% of Europe's fish stock is endangered.

The policy sets quotas for each of the 27 member states and for types of fish.

"Europe is the problem," Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"It is paradoxical that Europeans see themselves as the most enlightened policy makers in the world," he added.

Problems with fish stocks are present in many parts of the world but none so serious as in the seas around the European Union.

Only two countries in Europe have been managing their fisheries in a sustainable fashion - Iceland and Norway, Mr Grimsson claimed, pointing out that neither is a member of the European Union.

But whereas he was concerned about the future of the oceans that are so important to his country, he also said there were reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Fish caught in a sustainable manner can be labelled electronically, so modern technology, such as mobile telephones or smartphones, have now made it possible for consumers to check exactly where the fish they buy comes from, he says.

Technology that accurately maps the movement of all boats also exists, and it costs less than $100 per boat, Mr Grimsson said, insisting it should be compulsory for boats to be kitted out with such kit before leaving port, the way an aircraft is not allowed to take off without the correct instruments on board.

What are the chances of anything of that kind being even discussed, let alone adopted under the CFP?


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