Greenpeace urges reform to reward sustainable fishing methods
May 29 2012 Lewis Smith
Greenpeace has struck up an unlikely alliance with fishermen in a move designed to promote sustainable fishing practices.
Activists from the direct action group have until now been vocal critics of the fishing industry, especially of whaling and tuna fleets, but they now want to befriend fishermen – or at least some of them.
The environmental group has launched the ‘Be a Fishermen’s Friend’ campaign to boost support for inshore fleets which Greenpeace believes is run much more sustainably than many of the large scale trawler operations further out to sea.
Greenpeace is now calling for fishing fleets made up of small boats to be given a greater share of fishing rights around Britain and the rest of Europe as part of wholesale reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
The campaign is intended to increase pressure on European Union countries to push through radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Jerry Percy, chief executive of the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA), warmly welcomed Greenpeace’s stance.
“Nutfa and Greenpeace have recognised that putting aside historic differences in order to be able to work together offers both of us a genuine opportunity to bring about much needed real and positive change,” he said.
“Small scale, inshore fishermen have always looked after their local stocks but have never been fairly rewarded for their low impact methods.”
Other supporters include Tory MP and environmentalist Zac Goldsmith, Labour’s shadow fisheries minister Tom Harris, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall who led the Fish Fight campaign against discards.
Monty Halls, the marine biologist and broadcaster Monty Halls, said: “I’m a firm supporter of the small boat fishing fleet. This isn’t some quaint, historical model of a fishery; it’s a potential sustainable way forward for fisheries for many generations to come.”
Greenpeace Oceans campaigner Alicia Craw said that both fish and small scale fishermen are struggling. “Our fish and fishermen are in deep crisis,” she said. “Over 70% of Europe’s fish stocks are overfished, and the UK’s low impact fishermen are being put out of business by policies that shut out sustainable fishermen and favour Europe’s high impact operators.”
The Cornish sea shanty band, Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends, of which two of the 10 members are full time fishermen, has also offered its support. Jon Cleave, a spokesman for the band, said: "We are supporting Greenpeace's campaign because it is a great chance to make a difference to something that affects not just our community here in Port Isaac but the whole of the UK.”
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