John Finnie MSP recently said that bombing at Cape Wrath caused whales to be stranded and Tavish Scott MSP criticised the Scottish Government for not having a fisheries debate. These statements are connected in as much as they are both linked to the lack of fish. Most whale beachings are most likely caused by chasing ever-decreasing food supplies. The same topics of quotas and days at sea within Europe are continuously recycled and this tack is simply not working. Why would we want to discuss illegal fishing by Faroe and Iceland?
Our island, which has one of the richest marine environments in the world, is now looking enviously from our own empty waters towards those countries that have, and intend to keep, control of their own fishing.
How could our politicians have allowed us to get to this point?
Pelagic trawlers are dumping up to 100,000 tonnes of dead fish at a time if they are smaller than expected, clam dredgers and bottom trawlers are destroying the seabed in inshore waters and foreign vessels are flying “flags of convenience” in order to flout tax and fishing rules.
We must have radical change if we are to save the oceans. Most politicians have little or no experience of the fishing industry. It should be compulsory for them if we are to have any influence on reforming European fisheries policy.
I am jealous of countries such as Norway that have huge fishing wealth simply through radical control over their fishermen. We need to take a leaf out of their book.
The waters just off our beaches are also a vital part of the entire world’s ecosystem, we cannot fix the whole world but we can help by fixing our own bit.