Friday, 7 May 2010

Sail powered ships found it easier...

A report from the Marine Conservation Society and the University of York built on data from historical government records has shown how today's fishing fleet has to work seventeen times harder than when the fleet was mainly sail powered. The study measured exactly how much fishing power in the UK fishing fleet was used to catch the amounts of fish shown in the records, and that the tecnhnological and industrial advancement of the fleet has not resulted in an increase in catches. The records show that the UK fleet landed four times more fish into England and Wales in 1889 than it does today. The report is likely to shed light on the long term implications of European fisheries policy that is based on catch data that goes back only 20-40 years.
Professor Callum Roberts, from the University of York’s Environment Department, said: “This research makes clear that the state of UK bottom fisheries – and by implication European fisheries, since the fishing grounds are shared – is far worse than even the most pessimistic of assessments currently in circulation.

With that in mind I have just returned from a meeting with representatives of Balanced Seas who are currently collecting data from all water users so that the government will be better informed when establishing its commitment to a European directive to create Marine Conservation Zones by 2012. The indepth questionaires identify areas of water used by people from all disciplines such as yachting, diving, angling and commercial fishing. The data collected will hopefully help to identify key habitat and species dependant areas that could benefit from the protection that would be beneficial from conservartion zone status. You can contact Balanced Seas here.

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