Fish NGOs under fire for trotting out tired old slogans –

Fish NGOs under fire for trotting out tired old slogans Published:  19 June, 2012

EUROPEAN non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have come under fire from the National Federation of Fishermens Organisations, for continuing to use tired old slogans which have no relevance to problems facing the industry.

In particular the NFFO has taken to task the repeated use of the “further faster” refrain which it argues is meaningless. It said the reaction of environmental NGOs to last week’s Council of Ministers meeting that reform didn’t go far enough was not altogether surprising

The NFFO statement said: “Even the best NGOs – those who work with the industry on the regional advisory committees –  succumbed to a formulaic response that could have been prepared 12 months ago, for all the relevance it had to the issues discussed and agreed in Luxembourg. For the fishing industry, this ritual demand of ‘further, faster’ whatever measures are adopted, has become more than a little frustrating.

“Whilst the industry and fisheries managers struggle to deal with the complex practical issues involved in reducing discards and rebuilding stocks in mixed fisheries, the NGOs’ repetition of the ‘further, faster’, refrain to journalists, from their comfortable offices, is at best unhelpful. “Some NGOs know perfectly well that a great deal of progress has already been made in reducing discards.

“They also know that whilst fisheries scientists acknowledge maximum sustainable yield (MSY) may be a legitimate political aspiration (when suitably qualified) they also consider that it is a poor, indeed impossible, guide to practical fisheries management.

“All this is known but suppressed by the NGOs in the service of a punchy sound-bite that portrays fishermen as rapacious pantomime villains and ministers as hapless dupes of the all-powerful fishing lobby.”

The NFFO said it had become used to the reduction of complex issues to these kinds of stereotypes. “The fishing industry has had to mature and acknowledge that civil society has a legitimate say in determining the conditions under which fish are caught, landed and sold. It is now time for a new equivalent maturity and sense of responsibility in the NGOs’ public statements,” it adds

” Bellowing ‘Further! Faster!’ and urging politicians to adopt more rigid rules and shorter timetables for implementation is part of the old discredited CFP that most of us want to now move beyond. Indeed this approach is a substantial part of the reason that so many CFP measures have failed to deliver in the past.”