You know the government is weak on the environment when even the fishing industry wants it to impose more restrictions on the fishing industry:
https://www.sustainableseafoodcoalition ... ries-bill/
In the letter to the Environment Secretary, SSC businesses argue that the current ineffective management of fisheries limits the ability of UK fishing communities to sell to responsible UK businesses. It also impacts the availability of sustainably sourced seafood for consumers.
Instead, a more sustainably-minded Fisheries Bill could reduce reliance on imports, strengthen ties between national fisheries and seafood businesses, and improve responsible sourcing across the board, boosting the health of our oceans and their precious resources.
Businesses are calling for:
- Sustainable fishing limits that are legally binding, in order to prevent overfishing;
Robust monitoring and enforcement to better aid vital data collection and ensure compliance with the rules; and,
Sustainable management of shared stocks – essential given that the UK shares over 100 stocks with the EU alone.
The letter is signed by 22 of the UK’s leading supermarkets, brands and processors. These are: Tesco, Waitrose & Partners, Sainsbury’s, The Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Lidl, Whitby Seafoods, Lyons Seafoods, Bidfood, Hilton Seafood UK, Direct Seafoods, Young’s, New England Seafood, the National Federation of Fish Friers, The Big Prawn Co., World Wise Foods, Seafresh Group, Joseph Robertson, The Happy Prawn Co., Lynx Purchasing and Meridian Sea.
The letter itself can be read here
It notes that:
- despite assurances that Brexit wouldn't mean a weakening in environmental standards, the current proposed Fisheries Bill "does not transpose the legal commitment set out in (b) that would ensure that all stocks are fished in line with MSY [maximum sustainable yields]", but instead relies on optional (and thus-far unwritten) management plans. Note also that "Authorities have complete discretion as to whether they want to put in place a management plan for a particular stock. In addition, the plans can be disregarded if they have a negative economic impact on the fishing industry."
- the Bill ignores a recent Lords committee report recommendation that the government "urgently take steps to put robust mechanisms in place to monitor and enforce compliance", meaning that we won't actually know who catches what where
- crucially, they don't seem to have worked out a mechanism for managing fish stocks that move between UK and EU waters:
The Fisheries Bill does not make any firm commitment as to how shared stocks will be managed. Setting an objective for the Secretary of State to consider clear sustainability criteria in relation to negotiations with the EU and other countries, including a commitment to agree catch limits that are in line with scientific advice, would help avoid another “mackerel wars” scenario where continuing disagreements between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands on the size of catches and quotas led to catches set at 35% above the levels recommended by scientists.
Mackerel was Britain's most valuable fish, at a third of landings, but overfishing has brought it to the point of collapse
So, despite claiming to be "led by science" in other areas, fisheries policy will instead ignore both scientists and business leaders in order to eke out perhaps another decade or so overexploiting the remaining fish stocks before they, too, collapse