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UK rejects North Sea fishing plan

 
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tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44142
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 04 10:10 am    Post subject: UK rejects North Sea fishing plan  Reply with quote    

The UK government has rejected plans by the European Commission to close some fishing grounds to protect cod stocks.

The Fisheries Minister, Ben Bradshaw, said he would oppose the plans at the meeting of EU fisheries ministers in Brussels due to start on 21 December.

The EC proposed closing parts of the North and Irish Seas and off western Scotland where 40% of EU cod are taken.

All EU states with North Sea coasts are said to back the UK, meaning any vote on the plan would probably be lost.

'More time needed'

Mr Bradshaw said: "We're not opposed to closed areas in principle, and I think you'll increasingly see them being used in the future.

There are glimmers of a cod recovery, and increases in prawns and monkfish
Ben Bradshaw, UK Fisheries Minister
"However, we don't think the timescale on which the commission seems to be expecting member states to agree these proposals is something we can accept.

"The cod recovery plan we introduced has been in place for just two years: it's entailed considerable pain.

"There are now signs of recovery, and so I think this is not the year for introducing closed areas. As they're currently proposed, we can't support them."

He told the BBC: "I think it's too soon to say whether the worst is over for the fishing industry.

"The next few years will show whether the measures we've already taken on cod will be enough, and our fisheries are on a sustainable basis. More tough measures may be necessary.

Making progress

"But given that we're only two years into the recovery plan it doesn't make much sense to lurch away from that, especially when there are glimmers of a cod recovery, and increases in prawns and monkfish."

The director of fisheries at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is Rodney Anderson.

Over the next five or 10 years, it'll be a difficult situation, but recoverable
Rodney Anderson, Defra
He told journalists: "There's no quick fix to the problem of how to manage fish stocks in a sustainable way.

"The UK's decommissioning of boats and the restrictions on the days they can spend at sea have helped the cod to recover.

"We've proposed to the commission measures to reinforce the enforcement of fishing regulations, and sanctions on those who break them.

"We think they'll help to bridge the gap between us and the commission - it wants a 65% reduction in cod mortality, and what we're doing already is delivering about 56%.

Losers and winners

"We'll go on making our case for bigger catches of monkfish west of Scotland and prawns in the Irish Sea.

"But we think the commission's proposal for closed areas is not underpinned by sound science, and would be disproportionate.

"There's a common perception that the fishing industry is on its knees, with no fish left in the sea.

"But it's a mixed picture - haddock and herring are in a very healthy state, and while cod are poor there are signs of a gradual recovery."

Mr Anderson told the BBC: "Some of the industry is doing extremely well. Over the next five or 10 years, it'll be a difficult situation, but recoverable."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/4102635.stm

Published: 2004/12/16 16:21:22 GMT

deerstalker



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 589

PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 04 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I don't understand their position. First they object to the CFP as unsustainable (on scientific advice), then they change tack.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44142
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 04 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

So what happens now? Surely no fish zones make sense? Are there any campaigning groups that you know of that might be interested?

deerstalker



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 589

PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 04 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That's a very interesting point! Sea fisheries seem to be a conservation vacuum as far as the public are concerned.

The government seem only to consider two options. Introduce strict conservation measures which will mean buy outs (not a great vote grabber when you're paying people not to do their jobs), or do nothing at all because the voting public won't notice (or just aren't that interested!).

There seems to be only to be two interested parties. The commercial fishing industry and the rod and line anglers. Twenty to thirty years ago the local cod fishery was great. Everyone who sea fished locally would wait for the words "the cod are in" with great excitement! There were loads of tackle shops - now there are two.

You only hear of two or three decent cod per winter, caught from the shore these days. Most of the charter boats have gone now.

The few trawlers (there used to be a fleet) don't fare any better - it's a hand to mouth existance for them. It's cheaper to stay tied up than to pay for diesel for a fruitless trip.

Rod anglers and trawler skippers have been banging on about this for years while foreign flag of convenience vessels fish a couple of hundred yards off shore.

As for campaigning organisations, unlike fox hunting it just doesn't seem to stir the public interest.

I'll find out what I can, but don't hold your breath!

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