For decades the UK commercial fishing industry has blamed everyone else for the overfishing of UK waters. It is always the ‘French’, the ‘Spaniards’, the ‘Man on the moon’ or the fishermen from ‘Timbuktu’. Tell a lie often enough and it can become the truth. During frequent conversations I have about overfishing with the public (including UK sea anglers), it is always the foreigners who are perceived to be the cause of reduced fish stocks. The UK commercial industry have been hugely successful at convincing the ‘man in the street’ (including our current media) that all overfishing problems are the fault of anyone but UK fishermen.
I’m of the opinion that UK fishermen need no lessons in overfishing from anyone! They are world leaders in the art.
Now at last a story has erupted to show the public that UK fishermen are targeting scallops in French waters at a time when the French leave the area alone because it is the reproductive period. Haven’t anglers consistently asked for spatial and temporal closures for species to allow them to reproduce in peace?
Tell a lie often enough and it can become the truth.
Sure, it’s legal for UK boats to be there but that has more to do with the inadequacies of the CFP than the moral right to target an area at a time when the target species is reproducing.
I just wish some of the broadsheet newspapers would focus on the decades of lies that UK fishermen have so successfully propagated – that all overfishing is at hands of others – but I doubt they will do so.
Until pair trawling for bass in the Channel was made illegal, it was UK fishing leaders who clamoured for the French vessels to be stopped targeting bass (pair trawling) during the period the fish aggregated to spawn. Those same leaders are now clamouring it is perfectly legal for UK boats to be in French waters targeting scallops during the reproductive period. Well it was perfectly ‘legal’ for French vessels to be off the Cornish coast pair trawling for bass!
One rule for UK boats and another for French boats!
Malcolm Gilbert | September 2018