July 14, 2011

So long and thanks for (killing) all the fish

The EU finally looks like it will get rid of its idiotic rules that force fishermen to dump perfectly good fish back into the sea dead. Well that only took 30 years for the message to get home. The BBC is of course reporting this in the most fawning terms, rather a more truthful account of how it was the EU's stupid rules and power grabs that created the awful situation that we find ourselves in with the  North sea as a text book example of a tragedy of the commons.

There are two ways of dealing with a Tragedy of the Commons, you can either privatise it or you can socialise it. The EU tried to socialise the North Sea fishing grounds when the UK joined, because at the time all the best North Sea fishing grounds belonged to the UK. It has been a disaster. Since socialising the North Sea through the CFP has been so bad those opposed to the CFP often suggest trying out the other option and privatising it, like Iceland sucessfully did. 

When this comes up knee jerk EU-philes who cannot bear admitting that there might be something wrong with the EU will whine that fish swim and therefore the sea cannot possibly be drived up into areas that are owned by individuals, obviously never having heard of the term 'fishing ground'. 

Fish do swim, but they swim to stay in the same areas: the areas with the best conditions for their particular species. If you are looking for a fish that likes sandy bottoms there is no point looking in an area with rock at the bottom because they will not be there. It is well known that lots of speices love wreaks, so much so that ships have been deliberately scuttled to create interesting drive areas. Recent research shows that Cod, for example, do not just love wreaks, they find a particular wreak that they especially like and stay there. Then you get to the other point that anti-privatisation folk don't seem to get: the sea is really big. When the UK joined the EU it gave away the rights to an area of sea equal to its entire land area. Divided between the few thousand active fishermen left in the country the sea areas that are being talked about are not the size of farmer's fields on land, they are the size of cities. It would take days of swimming for the fish to move between them, if they wanted to, and most of the time they won't want to because were they are provides the enviroment that they need.


Post a Comment

<< Home