FAL says Fish Fight campaign is 'misleading' – Fishupdate.com

FAL says Fish Fight campaign is ‘misleading’ Published:  21 February, 2013

The Fishermen’s Association Ltd (FAL) has claimed that the Fish Fight Campaign has been ‘grossly misleading’.

Around the UK and in International waters almost 200 THOUSAND SQUARE MILES of seabed is closed to the UK fishing industry, says FAL.

“The list is endless of closed or restricted areas both actual and potential – Marine Protected Areas, Special Areas of Conservation, Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), Sites of Special Scientific Interest, UK Real Time Closures of sea areas where there are concentrations of cod, EU Real Time Closures for juvenile cod, haddock, whiting and saithe plus all year closures such as the Windsock off the west of Scotland supposedly to protect cod, Darwin Mounds and Rockall Bank to protect cold water coral, Stanton Bank (reef features) not to mention the impact on the fishing industry of oil and gas plus green energy  operations, ” said Sandy Patience FAL chairman.

“127 MCZs in English waters alone are in the pipeline under the Marine and Coastal Access Act, on top of the all the existing SACs or of all the other industry-led conservation initiatives that are underway.

“The Scottish fishing industry is currently in dialogue with Marine Scotland to identify Marine Protected Areas as part of a UK network to meet EU requirements.

“Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall says absolutely nothing about the effects on marine life of all the pollution, chemicals, agricultural run-off that pours into coastal waters ever year, aggregate dredging, seals etc. No, it’s all down to fishermen – despite the fleet being a shadow of what it was.

“His statement that 75% of the world’s surface is ocean but that only 0.001% of that is protected is also utterly misleading as only a very small fraction of that 75% is fishable coastal shelf waters,’ added Sandy Patience.

“Does the public not care about the harm that is being done to an industry which is teetering on the edge of viability by the relentless biased pressure of “celebrities?”

“This current campaign is just another demoralising element which threatens the livelihood of fishermen whose families have worked with nature for generations to provide food for the UK.

“Over the last 10 years the industry has worked tirelessly with scientists and Marine Scotland and its predecessors along with responsible environmental groups in open, transparent discussions to resolve policy differences which allow us to coexist.

“People like Mr Fearnley Whittingstall and Professor Callum Roberts preach radical conservation which if implemented would result in the seas being returned to some kind of pristine, pre-industrial era state. They don’t apply this criterion to the landscape, which has of course been totally transformed by agriculture for centuries.   

“The seabed is no different from the land, it needs to be worked on and turned over to release the nutrients that sustain the whole ecosystem.

“This current Fish Fight campaign involving a march on Westminster will only fuel the growing anger amongst hard working fishermen and their families at the gross misrepresentation of the facts. They do not deserve to be portrayed in a manner that is totally contrary to the actions they have taken and are continuing to take to protect fish stocks for future generations.”