Fishing News

Fury at Boris Johnson’s scallop gaffe

PM rewrites fisheries coverage on the hoof

NGOs jumped upon feedback made by prime minister Boris Johnson throughout a local weather change query and reply session held with main faculty youngsters within the run-up to COP26, reviews Andy Learn.

In his off-the-cuff feedback, Boris Johnson appeared to recommend he was in favour of phasing out scallop dredging fully.

Answering a structured query from two youngsters, about defending each the seabed from the impacts of dredging, and the coastal communities who depend upon dredging for livelihoods, he sidestepped fully the second a part of the query.

He talked as a substitute about his opposition to dredge fishing, on the grounds that it was unsustainable, and due to the impacts of dredging on vegetation, resuspension of carbon and related. He ended by saying: “The benefit of shifting out of the CFP is we are able to set our personal requirements and do our personal factor, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Pouncing upon what appears to be a rewrite of presidency coverage, Charles Clover, govt director of the Blue Marine Basis, merely tweeted: “Boris Johnson, you have got nailed dredging for all the appropriate causes! Nicely carried out.”

Different NGOs adopted go well with, with Blue Ventures saying: “It’s nice to listen to Boris Johnson acknowledge the hurt that backside trawling does to coastal fisheries, the surroundings and local weather.”

A extra goal response got here from Professor Michel Kaiser, chief scientist and professor of fisheries conservation at Heriot- Watt College, who commented: “Inaccurate and sensational science deceptive the youthful era – prompting an equally ill-informed and one-sided reply. Have an interest to know when the PM will ban farmers from ploughing fields or utilizing mix harvesters.”

The BBC Radio 4 ‘Reality Test’ function additionally subsequently confirmed that the PM’s reference to fishing having the identical carbon footprint because the aviation trade was based mostly on a controversial paper that had subsequently been withdrawn after crucial peer evaluate.

Fishing Information contacted the DEFRA minister’s workplace for touch upon what gave the impression to be a change of UK coverage. Minister Victoria Prentis was unavailable for remark, however her workplace mentioned in a written reply to FN: “The potential impacts of backside trawling have to be thought of within the context of the place, when and the way this fishing methodology is to be deployed…

“Scallop dredging is arguably some of the impacting of present fisheries actions on the benthic surroundings, and there are a variety of administration measures that are geared toward decreasing its impression.

“As referenced by the prime minister, exit from the Frequent Fisheries Coverage now permits the UK full management over the administration of its waters. This can permit the UK the freedoms to work in direction of growing home Fisheries Administration Plans… to make sure UK fisheries are managed sustainably.”

By coincidence, the Scallop Business Session Group was scheduled to fulfill with DEFRA as Fishing Information was going to press. Chairman of the group Jim Portus advised FN that the group could be searching for pressing clarification from DEFRA on the prime minister’s assertion.

He mentioned: “Minister Prentis got here to Brixham this summer season, and heard at first hand from scallop skippers about their very own want for sustainable fisheries and the way they’re proactively taking measures to make sure this. I’m positive she is as embarrassed as we’re to listen to our prime minister communicate with such ignorance.

“It’s noticeable that the PM ignored the second query from the kids involved, about defending fishing communities. Sustainability additionally applies to coastal communities and employment, and I hope the kids asking the query didn’t must return residence telling mum or dad that they’d shortly be out of labor.”

Elspeth Macdonald, CEO of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, additionally commented on the PM’s statements, saying: “Boris Johnson’s ideas on dredging are usually not based mostly on proof. Rather more work must be carried out on blue carbon and the function of all types of seabed disturbance, together with currents and waves.

“Proof does, nonetheless, present that wild-caught seafood is a climate-smart selection.”

Watch the video by way of Twitter here.

This story was taken from the most recent problem of Fishing Information. For extra up-to-date and in-depth reviews on the UK and Irish business fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing Information here or purchase the most recent single problem for simply £3.30 here.

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