The EU is the world’s biggest consumer of fish. Yet about two-thirds of its stocks are currently overfished, according to the commission. In the Mediterranean, the figure is more than 80 per cent.European politicians have for years routinely ignored scientific advice while providing subsidies to underwrite ever-larger fleets.
The new rules will also attempt to end a disastrous practice known as “discarding,” in which fleets maximize their profits under the existing quota system by dumping already-caught fish at sea and bring only the most valuable back to port.Europe’s fishermen, as might be expected, are livid about the new restrictions, but smarter management of fish stocks will bring environmental, economic and social benefits for years to come.Closer to home, the New York Times reported today on another brewing fishing crisis down in Apalachicola Bay on the Florida panhandle. Heavy over-harvesting of oysters combined with poor water management by authorities along upstream rivers has put the entire local fishing industry in jeopardy:
“This bay would be filled with boats,” said Mr. Shiver, 36, whose father and grandfather plunged nets, set traps and dipped tongs into the water along this stretch of the Florida Panhandle. “There used to be oysters everywhere in here, and now there is none.”
This is what responsible environmental stewardship looks like, as opposed to the green unicorn hunts policymakers and politicians are drawn to all too often.[Fishing boat and net image courtesy of Shutterstock]