Overfishing’s Prime Culprit – Seals Eating Fish?

Is the dreadful state of fish stocks in the North Sea due to seals? Some people think so. Struan Stevenson MEP, for honourable reasons has long thought seals deserve a large part of the blame.

Way back in 2002 Struan Stevenson MEP was Chair of the European Parliament’s Fishing Committee. The Committee asked just what impact seals made on fish stocks in the North Sea. It was asked to advise if culling the animals was good sense for the fish.


The expert independent scientists came up with a report that did not make the seal culling lobby happy. You can read the report here:


EP seals &fisheries report_SMRU 2002 copy

The report suggests that the main predator of fish are fish, followed by fishermen and then seals.

I know we have done a very good job of removing the top predator fish, like cod and blue fin tuna, but it has some unintended consequences.

The report suggests culling seals has not been a great success as a stock management device.

And, later evidence of seals in Scottish waters does not support the seal culler agenda, see for example:

Seals and fish stocks in Scottish waters

We know that there are not enough fish in the North Sea. We know the main reasons, catching and discarding too many fish and all too often too young fish. Catch less, discard hardly any, like fish grow large and breed, this seems like a good recipe for healthy fish stocks.

Is Europe’s Fishing Policy A Failure? Some Doubt

I am enjoying an exchange on linkedin’s CFP reform group about the CFP. There is an interesting exchange  on whether the CFP has failed. I think it has. In a former professional life I asked MRAG this question. They came came up with an answer.
Since the last reform, profits and stocks have declined. Fleet numbers declined. They would have declined more if it were not for subsidies from taxpayers.
An obvious reason is that the Commission often set quotas at levels inconsistent than scientific advice.
The Council usually took the Commission’s recommendations and made it worse.Fishing ministers from many countries usually had fishermen sitting in the Council to advise them, often claiming there were lots of fish in the sea, and to ignore
the scientific advice.
That strange practice, unique to fishing council meetings, of allowing fishermen to sit next to or in fishing council debates is unique. It would be like chemical companies helping ministers in whether to introduce controls on hazardous substances.
Good things have happened. Denmark has shown the way in the EU by returning their fleet to profitability and stock increases.
IUU has declined. Actual enforcement on the ground by countries has helped. Retailers and processors turning away from IUU fleets is another. A strange correlation can be seen in the drop in IUU levels and increased discards – surely a coincidence?
Fortunately, things are bound to get better. Subsidies that have artificially kept unviable business alive will end.
Why? Europe’s governments have no cash to pay off fishermen.There is no cash left. Profitable fleets will be left and they’ll work against the tragedy of the commons and for property rights.

Technology Bringing the World Closer – Skype It’s A Good Thing

Recently I switched to the Belgacom for TV, movies and internet but I hardly use it for phone calls.

Skype has stepped in with crystal clear calls. I use it for calling family and friends. The quality of the line is excellent.

For more details, click here:


It is great for work. I used it for a one hour skye to skype call to Australia in the early morning. The line was excellent. It did cut out once, but a 60 min conversation for free is good value in my books.

The instant messaging service is great and it allows clients to ping me a quick question when they need a quick answer.

It would be useful if there was a phone that you could use with skype. It seems they exist in the US but they are not making this available in Europe yet.

I have yet to test calls skype to mobile or via mobile. If any one has experienced this, let me know how it went.