Freedom & Fishing

Mortal Mindy's picture

Grand Banks Cod Fishery : The Near Total Decimation Of A Species

 ( Is This The Future For The United Kingdoms Fishing Industry? ) 

In the mid 1980s the inshore fishermen of Newfoundland were warning that cod catches were down and the average size of the fish they were catching was reducing. However, all scientific advice maintained that stocks were healthy and the 250,000 ton annual catch was sustainable. It was not until the late 1980s that the scientists and government accepted that the cod stocks were in deep trouble. Drastic action was needed, but fearful of upsetting the fishing industry and causing job losses only small reductions in quota were imposed. Following re-analysis of existing data and new scientific surveys it was found in 1990 that Grand Banks cod stocks were in terminal decline. In 1994 a major scientific study made estimates that Grand Banks cod levels were 1% of what they were in the mid 1960s. Less than 2,000 tons of breeding stock remained.  The Canadian government acted by introducing a total ban on commercial fishing in the Grand Banks.  A number of areas of eastern Canada had either banned or severely limited cod fishing . The effects on the local economies were devastating. An estimated 30,000 fishermen lost their jobs in and around the Newfoundland area, while a further 15,000 people working in related industries such as shipbuilding and fish processing and selling also found themselves out of work. Fish processing plants closed down, trawlers were scrapped or sold to other countries for rock-bottom prices. As people left their communities to find work elsewhere, other small family businesses, found that they were no longer making a living wage. Around 46,000 people were thought to have left the province to seek work elsewhere following the collapse of the cod stocks. The collapse also had effects that stretched way beyond the fishing industries of Newfoundland. It was estimated that in the early 1990s the Canadian government paid $1billion in unemployment benefit, housing costs and retraining for people hit by the collapse of the cod fishing industry, and at least another $1billion was spent in the following years on similar measures.     

In the late-2000s it was noted that cod did appear to be returning to the Grand Banks in small numbers. The reasons for this fragile recovery are still unknown. Perhaps the damage done by trawlers is not permanent and maybe just maybe if left undisturbed for long enough the marine fauna and ecosystems can rebuild themselves. Of course this means no commercial activity happening. Either way the early stage recovery of the Grand Banks needs to be treated with the greatest caution. Twenty years later with no commercial fishing happening. Cod stocks on the Grand Banks are still only at a approximated 10% of mid 1960s levels. Hopefully in another twenty years stocks may be close to a full recovery. Can we be sure that in the future cod & other globally endangered stocks of other species will be given a chance to recover? Have lessons been learned by past mistakes or will Governments make the same mistakes again?.

As of late 2013 UK scientific data (Commercially Caught Species) showed fish stocks around UK shores are at an all time low. Our day boat inshore fishing fleet that is the mainstay of the industry for landing prime quality fish has dwindled to almost none existent. The decimation of fish stocks and the loss of thousands of jobs within the industry was brought about by the laxity of  DEFRA and couldn’t care less attitude of politicians. The hit & miss policing policy of DEFRA allowed greedy larger vessel owners, processing companies & vessel agents to cash in on the black fish trade. However it has to be said, that the majority of smaller owner/skipper vessels did abide by the rules. Abiding by the rules that were set in place to protect them, in the long run cost them & their crews their livelihood. Fish stocks are nearing the point of no recovery, almost destroying any hopes of a fishing industry for future generations. How will those in power answer our Children and Future Generations when they ask. “Where Have All The Fish Gone & Who’s To Blame" ?. "Will those who have/are enjoying the rich pickings from this crime against humanity ever be made to pay?" Political cover-up involving alleged, under the counter deals have been made & are still being made on behalf of the Banks /Corporations / Large vessel owning / Processing companies.                                     

(Yorkie Gull)

further reading/viewing:

google "Report on Authentication in Fisheries Monitoring - EU " page   page 15/65 or google: 'BBC documentaries "Who says I can't fish"



Mortal Mindy's picture

Catch 22 - Is the EU to reform Fishing Policy?

The fishing industry has been drawn back under the spotlite:

Whilst Greanpeace et al complain about the large industrial boats that take up to 45% of British quotas:

Quotas are given to boats, if the boat doesn't use the quota, you lose it.  

Catch 22 - the EU: - " phase out the practice of discarding unwanted fish"

What about the undersized fish? - fines now reportedly reduced to £ 250 from £ 1500 following a recent case of 'blackfish' on our shores.


Mortal Mindy's picture

Greenpeace Whitby - Tour


Exciting news - this spring we are touring the coast of England and Wales in a small fishing boat to support local, sustainable fishing. And we’ll be in Whitby on 14th April.

See you there?

Our little boat, Rising Tide, will be at Whitby on Tuesday 14th April between 7 and 8.30pm. Can you meet us at Fisherman's Society to show your support for low-impact fishing, and ask your political candidates to put local fishermen first?

More information about the event is here:

Local, sustainable fishing fleets are a solution to the crisis facing our dwindling fish stocks, but are facing extinction themselves because of years of neglect by successive governments. Let’s change that. Together with our friends at the New Under Tens Fishermen’s Association we want the next government to put our coastal champions action plan in place.

Whitby has a proud history of fishing - let’s make sure it has a future too. On the day, you can show your support by signing the bunting that will decorate the boat as it makes its way around the country, find out more about the coastal champions plan and talk to local fishermen.

There’ll also be the chance to meet your local politicians to share your views and make sure they are buoyed up to represent the needs of coastal communities.

Can you do one thing before then and sign the petition calling to put local sustainable fishermen first? That way we can carry our vision of thriving coastal communities, that have sustainable fishing at their heart, around the country and on to the next government.

I hope you can join us on the 14th April!

Hannah & Sondhya

P.S: The more of us who stand in support of local fishermen, the louder our voice will be, so please share this email with your friends and family so we can give Rising Tide a rousing reception at Whitby!

Mortal Mindy's picture

Ports Development Group

Rumours are circulating that the Chairman of the newly formed S&W Ports Development Group is non other than Fred Normandale, former RNLI 'Chief'  however :

"The new PDG will be chaired by the Portfolio Holder, and consist of three other councillors and three independent members. The three vacant independent positions on the PDG have now been advertised, and appointments are expected to be made with a view to the inaugural meeting of the PDG in January.


With Harbour fees set to increase by 5%

Three little words ...

Captain Qahn's picture

BBC: Whitby Chips

""What I can tell you though is that this town is the capital of fish and chips. Last week we had people in from Holland and China because they know the stuff we produce is the best.... "

"As of this month there are six fishing vessels with Whitby registered as their home port.

In reality though, according to Mr Normandale, most crews land their catches at Peterhead in the North East of Scotland, the UK's biggest fishing port.

"When we joined the EU, one of our boats sailing out of a Yorkshire port was allowed to catch 100 tonnes of cod a year," he says.

"You could make a living off that. The problem is that quota is down to 20 tonnes and from a local business point of view it's just not viable."

""Fishing was never just a job for me but a way of life - it was a good life until politics ruined it," he said.""   

Chips off the old block ..


Captain Black's picture

Fishing Quotas

"6:31am 7th February 2018

Today sees the first of a series of meetings to look at the future of the fishing industry and Scarborough Harbour.

It's open to members of the public who can contribute and takes place at the Town Hall at 2pm.

Experts will be present, to give their views on how the infrastructure can be updated.

They'll discuss things like the future of fish stocks, changes in regulations and leaving the EU


Wednesday 7 February – 2pm, Town Hall Council Chamber
Attendance: Fishing industry and policy experts from NIEFCA, MMO, CEFAS, Marine industry Lawyer, elected members, officers, general public and stakeholders. Areas to look at include future projections of fish stocks, changes in fishing regulations, new markets & Brexit impact.

Friday 9 February - 3pm in the RNLI Meeting Room
Attendance: Fishing industry representatives from catching and processing.

An informal meeting with the fishing industry representatives to obtain their views on the direction of the fishing industry and the wider proposals for the West Pier redevelopment.

Suggested questions / topics of discussion
• Current fishing infrastructure provision?
• Future industry opportunities and growth or otherwise? Which direction is the industry going in by 2030?
• Future fishing infrastructure requirements?
• What other activities could be encouraged in the Harbour?
• Any other questions?

Monday 12 February –10am, RNLI Meeting Room
Attendance: South Bay traders, other harbour users, yacht club, boat anglers, etc.

An informal meeting with wider stakeholders to obtain their views on the direction and wider proposals for West Pier.

Suggested questions / topics of discussion
• Role and importance of the fishing industry within the wider community?
• Current and future infrastructure provision?
• Future opportunities and growth or otherwise?
• What other activities could be done in the harbour, particularly upon West Pier?
• Any other questions?"

I hear drums ...