Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fish wars


As predicted, when the catch gets low, anger rises, the sense of injustice grows, the irritation at fellow fisherman increases:
Norwegian government coastguards filmed the crew of the Prolific, a Shetland-based trawler, openly discarding more than 5,000 kg of cod and other dead white fish, or nearly 80% of its catch.

According to the coastguard, the boat had previously been inspected in Norwegian waters and declared legal, before crossing into UK waters where it dumped its load. The incident took place on 2 August but the video only came to light in Britain yesterday.

It is illegal to discard fish in Norwegian waters, but boats are forced to do so in European Union waters if they have caught the wrong species of fish or fish that are too small. Last year the EU estimated that between 40% and 60% of all fish caught by trawlers in the North sea is discarded. The practice of dumping is widely recognised as unsustainable but inevitable given the present EU quota system.

Yesterday, Norwegian minister for fisheries and coastal affairs Helga Pedersen, speaking to angry fishing communities in northern Norway who had seen the film, said she would press for review of the EU fishing policy and wanted to ban any boat discarding fish that were caught in Norwegian waters.
Check the link to see the video of what five tons of fish looks like. What a waste.


Sorghum Crow said...


ellroon said...

The present style of fishing is unsustainable. It's just beginning to dawn on commercial fishermen that we can actually run out of edible fish.

We're going to see no fish zones so fish can recover and breed, and then the heavy policing of such areas. The world community will need to address drift nets that kill thousands of 'waste' fish.

I read a book by a woman commercial fisherman working in the north Atlantic, Linda Greenlaw. The blase attitude the crew had for wasting incredible amounts of unwanted fish just to get swordfish was extremely irritating even then, before I knew how severely impacted ocean fish were.

This change of attitude is hopeful. Maybe we won't destroy our planet by eating all the species....