From 600% to 1% Discards – How Do You Do It

The UK government is working with english fishermen to cut discards of fish. The use of CCTV cameras to make sure the scheme is working is proving a great success.

Channel 4 news showed a news item about how the scheme in Scarbourgh is working. It’s providing fishermen the technology to fully account for the fish they catch and land. It is a win-win for everyone.

You can see the pride of the fishermen here. This is leadership we need to see.


Watch it here.

“Trust Me, Put All Your Money on Black To Win” – Stories from the EU Carbon Market

I am always feel slightly worried for someone who puts his life’s savings into an investment because politicians said it is a good idea to do so.  It is like putting all your money on black at the casino because a politician told you it was the right thing to do.

Trust Me …

After several years working for or around politicians I always thought this was a good summary of what you should do if a government tells you to put your money somewhere:

“ Three lines you should never believe:

  • I’ll respect you in the morning
  •  The cheque is in the post
  • I am from the government, I am here to help.”

Lessons for the Carbon Market

Now, I am sure many people have fallen for these lines, I certainly have, but I heard with interest that the European Commission has just decided to inflict a lot of pain on people who believed in the EU carbon market. The price of carbon under the ETS carbon market has hit  rock bottom prices. And, any new release of the new auction credits, due in the next few months, would send the price even lower.  People holding carbon allowances would be sitting on nearly worthless assets. For some companies this is likely to hurt. Worthless stock will need be credited as being worthless in their quartelrly reports. Uncomfortable questions will be raised – did you really buy this on the advice of the European Commission?

You can see a good summary from Reuters here.

If you can’t buck the market , just change the rules

In a well co-rodinated leak on Friday 15 June the European Commission leaked to the press that it was going to suspend the next tranche of auctions of carbon. They are doing because this to increase the  price of carbon in the EU market.  It clearly has not worried anyone that the disruption to the market of the regulator unlialterally will damage the integrity of the market that prices will stay and remain low. Anyone with an ounce of sense will keep well away from such an unstable or arguably rigged market place.
You Could Not Make This Up
And, they are going to push it through under a semi secret legislative procedure, cosmetology, that gives the public very little means to know what is going on.
The only problem seems to be that the law does not allow them to do this. That would need the Commission to propose a new piece of legislation that would need the agreement from the European Parliament and the Member States. That usually takes a lot of time. And, the political process can lead to difficutl questions to be asked, and often they impertanrly don’t agree with the Commission.
But, under this procedure the Commission can fast track the  whole exercise. The only difficulty is that the legilsation does not seem to allow them to do that. Not that politics or financial interest to skip over the safegaurds of the rule of law. it is just that by the time the issue ever comes to court the deed will have been done.

21 Ways To Make Your Fisheries Work

I have been reading the agreement that fisheries ministers agreed to this week and I thought what do successful fisheries have in common. What makes a fisheries a success? Well, after having read about what is working, and what is not, there seem to be around 21 basics ideas for making your fisheries work.

But, these rules are common to any resource management. Many have tried to ignore them, and they have always failed. And, there is no equations, or modeling. If you don’t get the basic management model right, not much else will right.

21 Basic Laws of Success in Fisheries

1. Keep the Politicians involvement as small as possible. If  fisheries management is determined by the political whim of ministers or the closeness of an industry to a minister things will not work out.
2.  Make sure new ideas and new blood enter the industry.  Industry’s that don’t change and develop often don’t have new people entering it. Those industry’s tend to commercially die.
3. Don’t make the industry the livelihood of last resort.
4. Provide the market what it wants – and that means in Europe sustainable fish
5. Keep a watchful eye on regulatory capture  – get rid of  the fishery ministry and stick it somewhere else in government – and  preferably a very small department
6. Keep the fishermen out of the talks – do we let the oil industry sit with ministers doing climate change talks ?
7. Get rid of subsidies –  end subsidies that are harmful immediately and phase out the rest within a strict schedule
8. Follow scientific advice in setting the amount to be caught. If you do, the size of the fish population grows, and if you don’t the population tends to fall.
9. Introduce property rights – no fisheries under Individual Transferable Fishing Quotas has seen a depletion in stock size.
10. Close down failing fisheries. If a firm does not make a profit, it will eventually be closed down. Many countries fisheries bring in far less than they cost to manage and subsidize. If an industry creates a loss to the country (and only exists because of subsidies) it is cheaper to close it down.
11. Think about Sammy – don’t forget about the impact of fisheries on turtles, sharks, and birds.
12. Use the technology that avoids the by catch of turtles, fisheries, and habitat.
13. Use  the technology of the 21st century and not the 19th century.  Just as fishermen use state of the equipment to catch fish, they should use  state of the art equipment to make sure the rules are followed.
14.  Allow some parts of the  sea to be free from fishing – create protected areas that allow a secure place for fish and other marine life to breed and prosper.
15. Combat Illegal Fishing – fishermen who commit illegal fishing need to be banned from fishing. Too often, illegal fishing is not dealt with low fines that act as little or not deterrent.
16. You can’t ignore the law of supply and demand, so when you fishermen ask for extra quota, and there is no market for the fish, they can’t be surprised when the price goes down, often to a greater extent than any benefit they have got from the ext a quota.
17. Fisheries debates seem to occur without any knowledge of the law of cause and effect. If we discard 50% of the fish in the sea we can’t be surprised that the total stock go down. If we fish out the breeding stock before they have a chance to breed, we can’t be surprised that the amount of young fish coming through is  too few.
18. When we overfish some unintended consequences happen. The marine world is full of complex interactions, many of which we don’t understand. So, when we overfish the cod in the Baltic Sea we allow the algae blooms to proposer.
19.  Mankind has been trying to ignore the laws of nature for a few hundred years. We have not been able to beat this golden law. Populations don’t survive decimation, or at least not in a healthy way. So, it makes little sense to wipe out the young generation by fishing them in their first few years of life.
20. True wealth is when you are living of the interest of the interest of your capital. In many fisheries we are eating away at the natural capital. Some fisheries are living off the interest from the interest of the capital. That is a better long term financial solution.
21. You can not grow and proposer if you don’t want to. A farmer can not improve his land and crops without investing in improving the soil and seeds. If he does not, he will fail. Any business that does re-invest and seek to improve the quality of their product and service year on year and provide the market what it wants will fail. Many fishermen are doing that. Providing the market sustainable fish, other are going up the value chain and provide their fresh product direct to restaurants, others marketing their own product, often made easier my new technology. They are prospering. But, too many hope their friends in government will pay for their business as usual. Business as usual no longer exists, the world is too small and fast changing place.



Fishing For Subsidies – French Style

What Party Are You In Mr Cadec?

Alain Cadec is a French conservative MEP from Brittany.

If you ever listen to his speeches on the reform of the EU fisheries regime,  for which he is writing the fisheries Committee’s report on subsidies, you’ll  spend the first few minutes wondering if he is fact a French Communist, who has dressed in a suit for the day,  and  by accident sat down in the wrong seat.

Why is he not a Communist?

Mr Cadec makes the most wild eyed marxist seem like an apologist for global capitalism. Indeed, he must be under the impression, what with all the tens of billions being thrown around in Europe to bail out bankrupt countries and banking systems, he should be able to get his hands on it for some of french fishermen.

His speeches sound more in line with genuine communists in the fisheries committee (yes, they exist).


Give Me Your Money

Mr Cadec wants a return to the CFP of 1983. He wants a return to taxpayers not only building and modernizing fishing vessels, but he wants taxpayers to pay for the same vessels to be scrapped with taxpayers money.

The idea that fishermen should build and upgrade their own boats at their own expense seems a novel idea.

Where Are The Conservative Voices of Opposition?

The tragic comedy of it is that German Christian Democrats on the Fishing Committee don’t seem to mind and are likely to support their french “conservative” hair brained ideas of pouring billions of taxpayers euros into the sea.

Other People’s Money

I can only guess that Mr Cadec and his Spanish, German and Italian allies watched this movie from the UK’s Taxpayer Alliance and thought it was really a very good idea.