Corrections, Comments & Clarifications

TFP2, p6: Thanks to Jason Rose in Edinburgh for pointing that in our News in brief item about Scotland being on target to generate 50% renewables by 2015, we mixed up electricity and energy. Scotland is on target to produce 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015 and 100% by 2020. But electricity is only a proportion of the energy that the Scottish economy uses. Jason says: “The SNP Government is still thoroughly addicted to oil and gas, supporting continued extraction and talking up the prospects of another oil boom. It has also made worrying noises about coal and fracking, and has made bad decisions on big biomass. It is also relaxed about extending the life of nuclear plants.”

TFP2, p7: Apologies to Lia Zorzou for misspelling her name.

TFP3, p4: Chris Williams of nef writes to say: “I would like to point out some corrections for the otherwise excellent TFP article on fish. The 90% predatory fish depletion figure is from an article by Myers and Worm (2003), not Charles Clover – and it’s a statistic that has caused outrage in the fishing community.

“The main issue with fisheries is the concept of ‘shifting baselines’ as explained by Callum Roberts – each generation sees the marine (or any other resources) they have as ‘normal’, ie its very hard to understand the abundance, diversity and average size of fish in days of yore. So a 90% decline of marlin, tuna, sharks etc as the paper points to (since the 1950s) is hard for current generations to imagine so they refute it.

“Concerning discarding: its not only fishermen that want to discard fish (‘high grading’ in favour of more expensive species or size) its also due to failed regulation in the Common  Fisheries Policy (CFP) – discarding is a rational response to an irrational regulation which has failed totally. It was intended to reduce bycatch but in reality it has just led to waste. Now that discarding has been banned under the 2012 CFP reform we need to be very wary that a discard ban leads to more selective fishing rather than just finding markets for fish that would have previously been disarded.

“Catchbox in Brighton is effectively a trial for discards marketing: what fish will people eat that we would have discarded under the old CFP? What will they pay for species such as gurnard or other bycatch from trawls? Can we cover our fuel costs by selling them these unknown and unpopular species (which we now have to land by law)? For this reason, over the coming years, you will hear more and more about eating more fish, eating different fish, when what we should really be focusing on is gear changes that mean unwanted fish aren’t caught in the first place.

“Hugh’s Fishfight did a great job in bringing the discards debate into the mainstream, but giving all the credit to the Fishfight is harsh, as over 180 NGO members of Ocean2012 have spent years working on alternative policies and lobbying, and have played a huge role alongside (and informing) the Channel Four TV show. In the UK (due to our obsession with celebrity) the role of Hugh was overstated. It’s civil society, not only TV chefs that have been doing the hard work.

“Marine Protected Areas come in many forms, some are ‘no take zones’ or ‘marine reserves’ which do not allow any extractive activities, other are ‘multiple use’. MCZs are NOT ‘no take zones’.

“MCZs have nothing to do with limiting fishing activity in fact. They are set up to protect habitats and ‘Features of Conservation Importance’ (often rare inverts). They are not a fisheries management tool, so most of the sites won’t have an impact on fishing at all. Of the 127 proposed, 31 will go through and those are the ones that got least resistance from the fishing and other extractive industries (oil and gas, aggregates extraction, dredging for ports etc).

“Only one site (Kingmere , off Worthing) is set up to protect a fish species (Black Bream), so the comments about MCZs are somewhat misleading and conflate two issues. One is overfishing, the other is man’s wider impact on marine biodiversity and marine habitats. For more information on MCZs see here.

“Most of all, fishing will be allowed (as far as we know to date) IN ALL MCZs as they are not ‘no take zones’, which I think is where the confusion stems from. There has been no agreement on what ‘some’ fishing means. There has been no agreement on management measures at all to date, See this MCZ factsheet from December 2012 for more info.

“Finally, regarding ‘local fish’ – the key message is, it depends where you live. People in Fraserbrough or Peterhead in Scotland would buy local fish and support an industry which employs 40% of their towns working population directly or indirectly. Socially a massive contribution and therefore a good thing to do. But they type of fishing they do, and the areas they do it in are a different question altogether.

“Instead of local, the (more complex) yet significant point is about ‘day boats’, the ‘under ten meter fleet’ and the ‘inshore fleet’. These are smaller boats, they use mainly static gear. They generally don’t fish for quota species, and they are weather-dependent due to their size. In England at least, they also represent over 70% of our fishermen.

“Hastings is a good example of what the author means by supporting your local fishermen as the majority of boats there fit the less environmentally damaging and more socially useful (ie higher employment using less carbon and subsidies). So if that’s what’s meant by local, I agree. However, not all fishing fleets fit that description. Imagine your ‘local’ fishermen are all beam trawlers or scallop dredgers and your concern is for marine habitats such as chalk reefs. Maybe supporting them would be in conflict with that motive. To make the point clearly, what if your local village fleet are shark finners? Or dynamite fishermen?

“As with all things, the true story is one of complexity and there’s more to it than meets the eye. Fisheries around the world are diverse, complex and so are the management regimes surrounding them and the motives of the people involved in the debate.”

TFP3, p9: We’re sorry.  We made an error editing the piece about Dave Hampton, Carbon Coach. It should have read:  “armed with *savings from a previous* remuneration package that *had* turned some of (his) friends green…”

TFP3, p16 Apologies to Julia Rowntree for mispelling her name. The Clay Cargo project was part funded by Arts Council England (not UK)

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