Plans for freeze on commercial sea fishing slammed

Controversial plans by a think tank to freeze commercial sea fishing in Europe for five years to allow fish stocks to return to sustainable levels have been slammed by industry experts.

The London-based New Economics Foundation argue in its report, No Catch Investment, that the suspension would generate billions of pounds in profits by 2023 and that private investment of £9.16bn would compensate fishermen and maintain boats.

It looked at 51 out of 150 commercial fish species, including hake, mackerel, whiting and Icelandic cod. Most, it said, could be restored to sustainable levels within five years, with some varieties such as certain mackerel and herring needing less than a year. However, some stocks of cod and halibut would take at least nine years to replenish, the report found.

The chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), Barry Deas, has stated that stocks are already improving and the idea made no sense.

“On the whole, we are already moving towards maximum sustainable yields so what is the point in spending these huge amounts of money? A freeze on fishing would result in a degeneration of infrastructure and a loss of markets,” he added.