FOOD INDUSTRY: The great fish robbers have got away again
14 July 2011
The EU plans to overhaul its fishing policy to stop complete depletion of our overfished seas. But the weight of industrial lobbies and the short-sightedness of some member states will make this a hard task.
If we were relying on the fish caught in British waters, we would run out by this coming weekend.
The North Atlantic was once one of the planet’s most productive seas. Now, despite having one of the largest fishing fleets in the world, Europe is forced to import two thirds of the fish it consumes.
Instead of record production, we have record overfishing, affecting three quarters of Europe’s fish populations.
In a world that is ever more hungry for protein, and especially for the healthy flesh of fish, that is crime enough. But we also pay through the nose for the privilege of this mismanagement. If it were not for subsidies from taxpayers, large parts of Europe’s fishing industry would collapse. We pay out a billion euros a year to keep it afloat, half of which goes to Spain.
It could all be very different. In a perfect world Europe would profit from its fish, earning money from taxing big catches made by a healthy industry. European waters would look like those around America, New Zealand and Australia, where quotas based on reliable science have caused stocks and profits to soar. Read full article in Times – paywall – or in Presseurop's nine other languages...