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Fisheries Laws Causing Ecological Decline

written by: Summer Banks•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 6/27/2011

The news media has taken a stand against the fisheries laws in Europe and officials are noticing. The ecological decline of the fisheries due to harmful fishing practices is calling for a rewrite of local and nationwide policies.

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    The Tainted Policy

    In a series of news media reports, the effects of unhealthy fishing practices and choices by political officials has come to light in the fisheries of Europe and the government is noticing. A huge list of concerns and potential hazards is leading the fight to rewrite the regulations concerning the fishing industry.

    The current fisheries policies have been in effect since 2002. Fishery officials are seeking a revitalization of the 10 year policy thanks to new light being shown on the effect of the policies on the environment and the misuse of potential loopholes in the regulations.

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    Declining Fish Populations

    The fish populations in Europe have been in fast decline and government officials believe an exploitation of current maximum catch numbers is the cause of the decline. In order to hinder any further loss of fish species, the government is proposing to cut the number of fleets currently fishing the waters of Europe.

    Since the policies inception in 2002, the fleet numbers have reduced by 6% with a total reduction in energy usage of 7%. These numbers are simply not large enough to have a positive impact on the sustainable levels of fish in the waters so further reduction may be necessary.

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    Loopholes and Overcatches

    At the heart of much of the problem is the loophole of catch versus deliver. The regulations limit the number of fish a vessel can deliver to the docks, but not the number of fish they can catch. One British vessel was caught on video dumping nearly 80% of the total catch back into the waters in order to meet the allowable delivery totals at dock. This practice can lead to fish death and a reduction in the sustainable levels of fish in the European waters.

    In order to fix the fishing regulations, officials are brainstorming for the best ideas how to maintain healthy levels of fish without putting fisherman out of jobs. Some officials want a strong rule system with more marine protected lands while others want only to put a system in place where fisherman will stop competing against each other and work together for a positive balanced catch.

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