How trawling has emptied the seas – and we go on scraping the bottom

The Observer on fishing

‘One generation sees a change – in terms of loss of habitat and stocks – but does not realise similar losses were observed by the previous generation, and by the generation before that,’ The Observer reports York University researcher Callum Roberts as saying.

‘A fisherman might well have been surprised by the changes he saw in the middle of the 19th century but he would be utterly horrified by the impoverished seas he would witness today. The changes have come upon us steadily – which is why we have failed to appreciate the true scale of the devastation. If it had happened over a short time, we would be much more concerned and would be taking urgent action.’

Is this true? I don’t know why York University would tell something that wasn’t so.

You have probably already guessed what our business-minded political leaders are doing about it, and you would probably be right.

According to Roberts: ‘Many of our fisheries are on the point of collapse and our coastal waters are in a state of grievous disrepair. Yet the government has decided that it is simply not worth taking meaningful action to put right these very severe problems.’

I seem to remember this was promised to be the greenest government in our history. Read more of this dismal story here.

PS – Check the comments below for some interesting points from Kipperman Mike Smylie.

One thought on “How trawling has emptied the seas – and we go on scraping the bottom”

  1. Mike Smylie made the following comment on my Facebook account – I hope he won’t mind my repeating it here:
    ‘They were querying trawling back in the 14th century………but it is not bottom trawling per se that is the problem (though it’s not a great way to fish) it is the big heavy trawls that are now dragged along. They said in the 1830s that ring-netting would destroy the stocks….it didn’t. It was the huge purse seiners that caused the collapse. Sadly, although the bigger trawls are mentioned in this piece, it still doesn’t distinguish between small scale fishers (95% of fishers with 4% of the quota) and the big bastards. It’s also slightly out of date and stocks are on the rise again……….though the damage to the seabed is of course a great concern. You want fish with your chips………..there is a price to pay. Motorisation is the problem with fishing…………and technology. But that’s the same in so many facets of life today.’

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