Will Politicians achieve Sutaianability for Fishing

From unsustainable Fishing to Research and Sustainable Politics?


In politics, leaders and parties come and go. Decisions are made, policies are implemented. The party that wins the support of the electorate wins the election and the right to take decisions. Meanwhile fish stocks are plundered regardless or a consequence.

Will fishermen deliver sustainability?

Carol Gilbert suggested that it is time for the fishermen to represent themselves. In the same article, Carol told of large foreign fishing vessels taking valuable fish from Irish waters after the smaller Irish boats caught their allocated quota. The big foreign boats were allowed to do so in the name of research. Is there an opportunity for Irish boats to do genuine research in their own waters under the guidance of the newly opened Marine Institute in Galway?

Dept of Marine

Also it is a concern to hear about “Unworkable Guidelines Issued by Dept of Marine Destroying Pelagic Sector” (Marine Times Nov 2006). Whilst it is important to target individual target stocks without impacting on other more fragile stocks there is something familiar in this article along the lines of “its not our fault we throw away dead fish, it’s the regulations”. There is some sympathy with the difficult position that these fishermen find themselves but that does not make wasting a valuable natural resource the right thing to do.

Need for Communication

It is imperative that fishermen, scientists and policy makers communicate clearly with one and other and agree on a common goal that ensures diverse and abundant fish stocks for a future sustainable industry. The government of the day who ever they are need to recognise the needs of the Irish fishing industry in an ever growing global context where it is vital to think globally and act locally. Each of us has some responsibility to protect natural resources on which livelihoods depend. When huge fishing vessels discard dead fish at sea fishermen, scientists, policy makers and politicians and the public need to be concerned.

Opportunity for sustainability

Fishermen now have a real opportunity to take a lead in demonstrating environmental protection provides for a better economy not only in a fishing context but in the wider arguments concerning global environmental issues including global warming. Isn’t it time the scientists understood the fishermen better and the fishermen understood the scientists better. The fishing Industry could be a much better place, when fishermen and scientists provide an agreed solution to over exploitation, pollution and habitat destruction.

Should fishermen to represent themselves?  I guess the answer is that if the politicians can’t do it in the context of the brave new world fishermen should. Why not educate more fishermen to become scientists and scientists to become fishermen or environmental economists?

Brendan Kerr

Natural Living Assets


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