Angry reaction to European report

Scarborough trawler Allegiance.
Scarborough trawler Allegiance.

Scarborough fishermen have reacted agrily to a report which claimed that cod would disappear in 10 years through overfishing.

Former trawler skipper Fred Normandale dismissed the European Commission’s findings as “ludicrous” because it had been written by academics with no practical experience of the industry.

He said: “Who are these people?Everyone wants to save the world but none of them has experienced what the fishermen go through.

“These academics know nothing. The fact that the fishermen have done it for years counts for nothing.”

Shaun Wood, a local fish merchant based in Scarborough and Whitby, also disagreed with the findings. He added: “Most of the boats fishing in the UK waters at the moment are avoiding catching cod because of the PR in it – if you eat cod it’s an endangered species and the British public wants to save cod.

“Cod isn’t as sought after as it was three years ago and there is the recession.”

He said that because of the economic climate businesses, such as local hotels, had to watch every penny.

Mr Wood said that cod was more common in the fishing grounds around Scotland and the Faroe Islands and had to be imported here. “There hasn’t been any wieght of cod since the new year.”

The report claimed that common fish species such as cod, hake and mackeral would disappear from European waters within 10 years unless swift action was taken to stop overfishing. The findings came from a European Commission report which claimed that almost 50 per cent of Atlantic fish stocks and more than 80 per cent of Mediterranean ones had been exhausted by overfishing. The report added there were some improvements with less popular stocks but, based on current trends, only eight out of 120 fish stocks would remain at a sustainable level in a decade.

It warned that they would remain in northern European waters while deep sea and southern waters stocks would be exhausted. Other stocks which could also run out include: red sea bream and some shark and ray species.This week European ministers met to discuss reforming the current EU fishing policy.