Thursday, 3 September 2015

A fine example of that "reformed" policy

Worry not, we have been told whenever we have expressed certain reservations about the Common Fisheries Policy of which we shall continue to be members as long as we are members of the European Union, it has now been reformed and more sensible rules will be imposed. Please note the word "imposed". That is exactly what the CFP consists of: rules made at the centre, often for reasons of politicking between the member states and then imposed on all fishermen.

Take this story from Cornwall:

Cornish fishermen expressed concern about the fact that while there has been an increasing number of sporadic but significant hauls of spurdog (Squalus acanthias), no landing of the species has been allowed by the European Union since 2010.

These fishermen consider that it would be logical to think that a zero total allowable catch (TAC) for spurdog means a zero take or zero fishing mortality on the stock, but as spurdog are widespread and locally abundant throughout the Western Approaches and other areas of the North East Atlantic this is simply not the case.

The reality is that there are accidental by-catches of spurdog in many mixed-fisheries not just in Cornwall but around the UK, which inevitably leads to a level of fishing mortality of the resource.

Under the current EU management regime these perfectly good fish must be discarded whether they are dead or alive. There is no real benefit for the stock, fishermen or wider society under the current regime of discarding dead spurdog. This is a waste of a perfectly good food resource and is clearly not in line with the principles of the recently reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and in particular the much heralded Landings Obligation (“discard ban”).

Let us hear it again for the great benefits of the CFP and how it has been reformed and made rational and local. (Yes, we are being sarcastic.)


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