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October 25, 2004

The Guardian on Fishing.

A Guardian leader today manages to notice the problem with fishing in UK waters:

So much so that in the North Sea, an area that once teemed with fish, cod stocks are now running dangerously low. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Ices) - a group of marine scientists who specialise in the North Atlantic - has released its annual survey of fish stocks. It recommends a minimum cod stock size of 150,000 tonnes in the North Sea. Alarmingly, the current stock is estimated to be less than one-third of that figure, at just 46,000 tonnes. The figures show a similar tale for Irish Sea cod, as well as sharp declines in Bay of Biscay hake and North Sea plaice numbers.

Good, we're glad you noticed. They are, however, able only to see the proximate cause, not the ultimate one. They actually think that further European Union involvement is the answer, when it is in fact the EU, through the vile and absurd Common Fisheries Policy which is the problem.
A one-year ban would certainly require EU funds to bail out the fishing industry, but the price tag would be relatively small - compared with the cost of the common agricultural policy, a drop in the ocean.

Economists have been shouting for decades that the only solution to this Tragedy of the Commons in fisheries is direct ownership of the fish by the fishermen. Only by moving from a hunter-gatherer structure to one of well defined property rights, along with the markets that implies, can there ever be a solution. The four best run fisheries (and the only four with expanding stocks) are New Zealand, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes. All have variations on such property rights.
The waters under discussion were, until our entry into the EU, 80% within the UK's Exclusive Economic Area, as defined under the UN treaty, the Law of the Sea. We could, if we were independent, solve this problem ourselves. But we're not independent, we are part of the EU and thus have CFP imposed upon us.
The solution? Yes, you guessed it, Ceteram censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam.

October 25, 2004 in Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam | Permalink


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Tracked on Nov 1, 2004 4:22:59 AM