Okay, I've taken some time to study the information you linked to, and conduct a bit of research myself, and I've come to this startling
I don't really know what your problem is, UK Wizard.
For those of you who haven't been following this fascinating
issue - and I can't say I blame you - here are some of the interesting minnows I
See? A fishing metaphor! Ha!
Fish stocks in the seas around Europe are dwindling fast. Because of overfishing, there are fewer fish than at any point in recorded history. Some
people in the EU decided in the 1970s that, so that our children can enjoy a seafood platter when they are adults, stocks should be conserved and
limits imposed on how much fish a given boat is allowed to catch. Straightforward enough, you might think, except that the EU has, rather than
adopting a simple, transparent approach, created an incredibly complex set of rules knows as the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). All the information
you could possibly want on the CFP can be found here
So there have, in the past, been some conflicts about who can fish where, notably between the fishing fleets of the UK and Spain. Meanwhile, the
amount of fish that a boat can catch in a given period is being reduced every now and then, to further protect the poor fishies while letting the
fishing industry down gently. Now, it turns out, the EU hasn't been strict enough, and several species of fish are facing extinction in European
waters. The solution should be fairly easy to see - tighten the restrictions!
But that, of course, isn't the problem. If rational debate and logic carried the day, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
If only it were that simple.
The following quote comes from the last link you supplied, UK Wizard, to a statement by Mr. Tom Hay -
British fishermen have since 1983 been ordered by this unelected bureaucracy to dump hundreds of thousands of tons of prime quality fish all
dead back into the sea in the name of conservation, to pollute the fishing grounds in almost every area where our vessels operate.
That is a transgression against the highest moral law, since thousands, yes, millions die of starvation only a few hours flight from Britain's
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, you did
read that correctly. No, I know what you mean, but go back and read it again. It really
as crass and ridiculous as you thought it was.
Let me get this straight. British fishermen are being ordered to return some catches to the sea - not all dead, by any means, despite what he says -
in the name of conservation, while some people are starving somewhere in the world
? Is Mr. Hay suggesting that, if he were allowed to keep the
excess fish which he shouldn't have bloody well caught in the first place
, he'll go out to the Sudan and make everyone a tuna mayonnaise
sandwich? I doubt it!
This is exactly the type of hysterical nonsense that gives the pro-fishing lobby a bad name, and leads to the public perception that our fishermen are
being screwed. Mr. Hay doesn't have a problem with the EUs management of the seas, he has a problem with not being allowed to go out and catch every
damn fish between Aberdeen and Norway!
So, in conclusion, UK Wizard, I'm not really with you on this one. Yes, there are legalistic loopholes, and yes, there has been some decision-making
which could have been more transparent. I can see, too, how it seems that the UK has got a rough deal out of EU legislation on fishing, but, trying
to be objective, I can see their point. Fish stocks must be conserved
if there are to be any left in the future - and while the implementation
of some of the legislation may be a bit questionable, it doesn't change the fact that fishing industry throughout Europe is too damn greedy and needs
to be cut back.
And if the problem is one of communication and transparency, surely that's another argument in favour
of closer ties with the EU. If we're
on the inside, we can examine and influence the whole process, and ensure that, in the future, British fishermen aren't penalised because our
politicians aren't in Brussels arguing in their defence.