Who Owns The Fish

A few weeks ago there was a lot of press coverage of a report from the UK Parliament on the ownership of UK fishing quota. I enjoyed listening to a debate on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme. I liked the discussion so much – well i like fisheries policy and it is not often that I get to listen about fish eating my porridge –  that I read the report. What was interesting about the report is that in a reporting about who owns the UK’s fishing quota it does not mention who actually  owns the fishing quota. I found that a little strange so I decided to ask Her Majesty’s Governments in the UK and Scotland for the details.

Yesterday, the Scottish Government turned down  my freedom of information request. You can read their reply here.

There will be a few more letters going back and forward. I think if the matter is suitable to be discussed in the UK Parliament and on Today Programme, that the information is of “wider public relevance”.

Commissioner Damanaki – one gutsy politician

I like Commissioner Damanaki. She has guts and is prepared to take on the entrenched political interests of the  establishment. She fought the fascit dictatorship in Greece, saw good friends murdered, and endured torture and imprisonment. That background of taking on some of the most outdated and insidious thinking known to man must have been the reason President Barroso asked her to take on the job of reforming the failed common fishing policy.

Maria Damanaki speech in the European Parliament gives a good example of her plain speaking.

Personally, I think she will fail.  I regret this. But, the forces of conservatism are more powerful than those who want change. The industry and stocks will continue to decline. The only change is there is no more money to bankroll a failing industry.

Size Matters – On How You Vote

An interesting study on brain structure and political beliefs @


Colin Firth was one of the authors.
There is perhaps a follow up study to be done to see if politicians brains blank out when you say “sound science”, “stop printing the money”, and “trade is good”.

Europe’s Enviornmental Rules – The Naked Truth?

I like Hans Christian Andersen‘s stories. My favourite is “The Emperor’s New Clothes” . It is a great tale for kids and parents alike.

Two recent reports, one  from Spanish prosecutors and another by the UK NGO, Environmental Investigation Agency, reveal the systematic  non compliance with EU electronic waste recycling laws. The flagrancy of the breaches are shocking,  and companies and enforcement agencies are not even bothering to hide their misdemenaours. It is all illustrative of the whole scale  lack of real enforcement of EU environmental laws across europe. The report shows that governments can’t even be bothered to do even basic checks. Indeed, the laws seem to be nothing more than paper based statements of intent. Governments, Commission, NGOs and some companies hail the adoption of a piece of newly adopted law, and then promptly forget about the less exciting, but surely more important things, like implementing it.

But, the pretence that the rules that Europe pass are implemented is a mirage that the Commission, Member States, Industry and NGOs like to maintain.  This shameful conspiracy of silence needs to end.  Governments need to enforce the rules they signed up to. The Commission needs to return to days when it had courage, like under Jacques Delors and Ludwig Kramer, to inspect environmental crimes and stopped them.
Finally, NGOs need to focus their scarce resources , step back from campaigning for new and ever more elaborate environmental laws, and refocus on the basics, like improving the environment and making sure the laws we have in place are working. Now, that would be a radical first step.