The new UN report on global biological changes points to a neglected area: the rapid decline of our oceans. Normally, fingers point at climate change, pollution, and acidification. But this columnist says the real culprit is the deeply protected commercial fishing industry. Here, then, is another vulnerability for an important Northwest industry.
He writes: “When you hear the word fisherman, what picture comes to mind? Someone who looks like Captain Birdseye: white beard, twinkly eyes, sitting on a little red boat chugging merrily across a sparkling sea? If so, your image of the industry might need updating. An investigation by Greenpeace last year revealed that 29% of the UK’s fishing quota is owned by five families, all of whom feature on the Sunday Times Rich List. A single Dutch multinational, operating a vast fishing ship, holds a further 24% of the English quota. The smallest boats – less than 10 metres long – comprise 79% of the fleet, but are entitled to catch just 2% of the fish. “