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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fishermen to be paid to collect plastic?

This story is of real interest to us all since any removal of plastic from the sea has to be a good thing, but a few things in the reports caught my eye:

The BBC reports that one of the aims is to give fishermen a financial boost (some of them have already been collecting plastic for no reward).  Paul Trebilcock, chief executive of the Cornwall's fish producers organisation says that as custodians of the sea the fishermen were happy to do this for nothing.  Unfortunately if fishermen were truly custodians of the sea, the fisheries industry would not be in such a bad way. 

Imagine using beef farmers as an analogy - each year they kill all of their livestock to maximise the monetary gain, allowing so few of the cattle to reproduce that in a few years all the cattle are gone.

Then imagine that not only have the beef farmers killed all the cows, during the course of their work, they also indiscriminately killed all the sheep and pigs and chickens that they encountered (these were not eaten, they were disposed of since they were not the target species).

Pretty soon, nothing left at all in the fields, no beef, chicken or pork in the supermarket, farmers asking for more subsidies and protection and blaming the government for poor management and then finally, to make up for the food shortage, breeding really random species (let your imagination run wild!) and relabeling it so that an unsuspecting public think they are still eating the meat products they can't do without.

Pretty daft isn't it?  But that is the sad state of our seas and fisheries now.

The second paragraph that really stands out is from the Guardian report:

"The move is intended as a sweetener to fishermen who have bitterly opposed the European commission's plans to ban the wasteful practice of discarding edible fish at sea. Fleets fear they will lose money by not being able to throw away lower-value catch."

So you can see that despite 'being custodians of the sea' they still back the incredible waste of a huge proportion of what they catch.

BBC: Litter Catch Payment Plans

Guardian: EU unveils plans to pay fishermen to catch plastic

Marine Conservation Society discussion on the subject

Coincidentally our first beach clean of the season will be on Sunday 15th starting at 9am on Kite Beach, Costa Fragata.  Bring your own rubbish bags, drinks and lunch.  email info @ for more information.

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