In Europe the catastrophic mess of marine fisheries management (CFP) is enshrined by a framework that unashamedly ensures the process of formulating policies and management measures is dominated by political and a fleet of fishing industry lobbyists.
In fact, an EU Commission Press Release in July 2011 read: “political leaders tend to favour short-term interests rather than long-term resource conservation;”
If the EU is to have a long term profitable fishing sector (recreational and commercial), as SSACN has long pointed out, the single most important ingredient is FISH which, as a public resource, should always be the number one priority.
Rainer Froese, a marine ecologist at the Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences has made the following observations:
- The EU Commission is not to blame for the fisheries ‘mess’, but the member states and the fishermen are.
- The sad state of the European fish stocks is not a natural or societal failure that good management simply could not overcome.
- The European public has been led to believe that fisheries management is decided by bureaucrats in Brussels. In fact, member states have the most influence – they make and implement the decisions that are made.
- In most member states this power is with the ministry of agriculture. Yet too many of these ministries have a cosy relationship with the fishing lobby – many of the civil servants firmly believe it is their job to protect the rights of their national fishing sector, including the rights to obtain subsidies and to overfish.
- Although the ministers change every few years, their advisors remain and oppose any true change. As a result, the CFP has more than 600 regulations – many of which contradict each other.
The last two statements will be particularly recognisable by anyone who has had long term experience of UK national and devolved fisheries management bodies.