If the UK government won’t stop industrial fishing from destroying our oceans, activists will | Fishing | The Guardian


Our oceans remain in crisis. I saw it for myself while I was making my tv series Hughs Fish Fight for Channel 4 over a decade back. I saw the most harmful fishing practices first-hand, as I dived over the sea floor within minutes of fishing boats dragging their metal-toothed gear along the bottom and scraping whatever in their course. And I witnessed the desert they created.I have actually also dived in among the couple of tiny areas where these techniques are not enabled, and seen how they burst with life, and with fish, that might and need to be multiplying to rebuild the health of our marine environment and replenish the stocks of fish that our fishing industry relies on.Ive also interviewed federal government ministers who promised to safeguard the waters which surround our islands, with a “world-leading” network of marine protected locations (MPAs), which would secure a few of the most environmentally varied and delicate parts of our seas. They have not kept this guarantee. They might declare otherwise, mentioning that more than 300 MPAs have been designated in UK waters which they do indeed cover some of our most precious, efficient and diverse marine habitats.Unfortunately, the reality is that in these so-called secured locations next to nothing is being secured. They are left open to all sorts of devastating human activities, the most substantial of which is industrial fishing. Examinations by Greenpeace and others have actually revealed over the in 2015 that some of the most harmful fishing boats spend hundreds, if not thousands, of hours fishing inside places that are meant to be protected. Bottom trawlers and scallop dredgers routinely stalk our protected areas, ripping up safeguarded seabeds with impunity.The government not does anything to stop it, since despite its claims to have actually produced secured areas, ministers have actually not made it illegal to damage the seabeds. How can we let this happen? When you hear the word “safeguarded”, it invokes pictures of beautiful natural surroundings, free from human activity and extraction. Or at the very least, the guarantee to restore habitats to such a state with meaningful intervention and enforcement. The federal government stands by and allows the fishing market to destroy our most sensitive marine locations, and threaten the health and productivity of our oceans for generations to come. We are not all going to stand by.Thats why Ive been out at sea with Greenpeace this week, supporting their action to put huge boulders into the Channel. Activists are building their second “undersea stone barrier” in a safeguarded area off the coast of Brighton. This location, called Offshore Brighton, is one of the UKs the majority of heavily bottom-trawled MPAs, in spite of it being set up to protect the seabed.Boulder placements will stop bottom trawlers from tilling up this valuable seabed habitat with their heavy fishing gear. This action needs to put practically one-fifth of Offshore Brighton off-limits to these damaging vessels. I support this action specifically because it is action– to secure our marine life in a pragmatic and reliable method– as opposed to the woeful inaction we have actually seen from our federal government so far.Our hope is that the government finally turns words into action and protects our oceans, by properly banning harmful fishing from our most valuable marine environments. If they do so, they can ensure healthy oceans, complete of fish, for every generation to come. And they can safeguard our fishing neighborhoods long into the future. They can– and should– do both these things. If they do not, their “world-leading” plan will imply nothing and their guarantee to secure our seas will be a lie.Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a food and culinary broadcaster, campaignerthis and writer content was originally released here.

I saw the most harmful fishing practices first-hand, as I dived over the sea floor within minutes of fishing boats dragging their metal-toothed gear along the bottom and scraping whatever in their course. And I experienced the desert they created.I have likewise dived in one of the couple of tiny areas where these methods are not allowed, and seen how they teem with life, and with fish, that could and need to be increasing to reconstruct the health of our marine environment and renew the stocks of fish that our fishing market relies on.Ive likewise talked to federal government ministers who promised to safeguard the waters which surround our islands, with a “world-leading” network of marine protected areas (MPAs), which would safeguard some of the most sensitive and ecologically varied parts of our seas. Investigations by Greenpeace and others have revealed over the last year that some of the most harmful fishing boats invest hundreds, if not thousands, of hours fishing inside places that are meant to be protected. I support this action exactly due to the fact that it is action– to secure our marine life in a efficient and pragmatic method– as opposed to the woeful inactiveness we have actually seen from our government so far.Our hope is that the government lastly turns words into action and secures our oceans, by appropriately banning devastating fishing from our most precious marine environments.


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