Let’s take back control of our fish

If I had to name one industry that had been worst hit by EU membership it would be the UK fishing industry. Placed under a Common Fishing Policy from the early days, the EU has done grave damage to what was one of our most impressive ventures. The UK has been driven from self sufficiency and good exports of fish to import dependence. We have had to watch as non UK boats have come into our waters under EU licence and taken the majority of the catch.


In the early days of the Common Fishery Policy too much fish was taken, doing further damage to the fishery. When the EU awoke to the damage being done, tougher quotas were imposed which favoured non UK fishing fleets, especially the French. If we look at the 2015 quota allocations for the main areas for cod and haddock they show (VIIbc,VIIe-k,VIII,IX,X, CECAF 34.1.1):


Cod   France 70-84% of Total Allowable catch

UK 7.6-9.2%


Haddock   France 55-66.7% of Total Allowable catch

UK 10-29%

Sole         France   14.3% to 54%

UK 0-19%

The great fishing fleets of Grimsby, Hull, Lowestoft have been slashed by the decline of the fishery and unfair distribution of the quota. Out of the EU the UK can reassert control out to 200 miles or to the median line with a neighbouring state. We can negotiate shared access with neighbours without being outvoted by 27 other member states under the majority voting system of the EU.

Freed of EU control we could have a policy which helps restore our fishery and allocates more catch to UK vessels.


(Figures taken from ec.Europa.eu/fisheries/documentation/publications/poster tac2015 en.pdf)


  1. bluedog
    May 12, 2016

    Sound points, Dr JR. Not only is fish a high protein and very healthy food, it is quite ridiculous to own an island yet be an importer of fish, as you point out.

    Slightly off-topic but EU related, the US strategic forecaster Stratfor has prepared an excellent analysis of the structural weaknesses in the German economy. Reading this report leads one to the inevitable conclusion that the risk to the Eurozone is no longer the PIGS, but the German banking system. It is also significant that China now takes 6% of German exports, while the UK takes about 7.5%, which highlights JR’s point that a trade agreement between the UK and EU should not be a problem.

    The Remainians seem to have embarked on an aggressive campaign about the economic risks of Brexit, when the economic risk to the UK is potentially Germany, whether or not we are in the EU. Clearly the German sourced risks to the UK economy are magnified by being within the EU, as one can imagine the demands from Brussels to support the Reich in the event of distress.

    The Stratfor report explains the looming problem in detail, and enables one to deflect the Remainian propaganda that we need to stay very close to Germany to prosper.

    The reverse may well be true.

    1. Hope
      May 12, 2016

      Giving up our Fishing grounds was a price worth paying our politicians told us. Why did the unions not kick up a fuss? We have given up our energy policy, social policy and we now learn Cameron has given up our veto for political and fiscal Union for nothing in return. It strikes me the negotiations was a give away by Cameron and fudged as a reform. What he did not say was the reform was for strengthening the EU control of our country not getting back any powers under a treaty change as we all expected from his Bloomburgh speech etc. How Gove, Johnson, Grayling and others claim he should stay post referendum is an outrage. Anti corruption meeting about other governments after failing to get his own house in order, literally, MPs employing family without proper selection to the tune of £23 million to the taxpayer, cash £1.6 million for questions from Cameron to change the union bill and your manifesto to keep the UK in the EU! Fairly corrupt in anyone’s view.

      Another fudge by the govt over the BBC. Tinkering a the edges, given a pay rise at our expense. No real overhaul. What a waste of time and money, again to the taxpayer. There is no need to have a state funded broadcaster. Despite the levies calming otherwise, the BBC can still exist, it just has to do so on its own two feet. If plurality applies to Sky to prevent monopolies then it should apply to the left wing bias BBC. At a time when the govt controlled by the EU is suppressing free speech and acting oppressively to invade people’s privacy and liberty (snoopers charter, extremism bill, European Arrest Warrant) a state broadcaster acting as an arm of the govt/EU is not wanted or needed in a free society.

    2. Denis Cooper
      May 12, 2016

      This is from early April:


      “German Economy, Once Europe’s Leader, Now Looks Like Laggard”

      I don’t wish the German people ill, but their politicians like Merkel and Schaueble are less likely to be stupid and spiteful over our exit negotiations if they know that their own economy is not in particularly robust health.

      1. Hope
        May 12, 2016

        Not just our fishing ground perimeter we learn today that immigration from the EU was 250,000 higher last year than claimed. The numbers for benefit claims are huge and increasing, all of whom have free access to the World Health Service, schools, housing and in work benefits! So it looks as though there we had 800,000 in total who entered our country! Cameron knew this, he tried to hide this and he falsely claims he will get the numbers down to tens of thousands in a “reformed EU”. Utter lies. He cannot keep repeating his lies and stay in office irrespective of the referendum. No wonder he will not debate anyone over the EU! With his record and false claims he undoubtedly wants to continue with his false narratives and run. JR this needs to be exposed fully. Carney wanted to grab the headline today to prevent this awful immigration news getting the headlines. Anyone could be forgiven this was a deliberate attempt to subdue bad news by the alleged independent BoE.

        1. bluedog
          May 13, 2016

          No, it is more likely that Carney can see a recession coming, Brexit or not. Blaming Brexit saves him giving an explanation of what is really going on and pleases those to whom he reports, ultimately George Osborne. Osborne would be grateful for a smokescreen if things get tough and Carney is obliging him with the Brexit story. How stupid do they think we are?

          Carney would be aware of danger signs in the persistent weakness in commodity prices including oil which reflects a slump in Chinese demand and consequent weakness in commodity exporting economies like Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Carney’s native Canada wouldn’t be doing too well either. The US hasn’t had a formal recession since 2008 and yet the US Federal Reserve has been completely unable to raise interest rates to normal levels without triggering a downturn.

          The whole thing seems very finely balanced, and then there is the Eurozone, as you point out.

      2. Hope
        May 12, 2016

        Italy in a financial mess where 48 percent of the public want to leave the Euro and EU. One politician calling the Euro a crime against humanity! Is the dream of safer secure EU Cameron wants us to believe? He just gave away the veto to fiscal and political union! No wonder why 670,000 were given NI numbers here last year, at what expense to our citizens? How many more are sending child benefit home? It is inconceivable that Cameron did not know the true figures while reiterating his false claim, if not lie, that he would reduce immigration to tens of thousands when he knew he had NO control over EU immigration. He is an absolute disgrace.
        We read today Junker making threats to the UK that we will not eat at his table if we leave it . We pay for the food on his table from our taxes as do the other nations, the EU only has house keeping money to buy food at our generosity. The parasite ought to know that before he makes threats.

  2. Lifelogic
    May 12, 2016

    Indeed all thanks to Heath’s fish deal. A price worth paying (by others) he seems to think with his dirty deal.

    An absurdly biased report on the costs of the EU to the UK on the BBC yesterday. Suggesting we paid virtually the least, per head, relative to our GDP. This ignored the fact that we get so very little back and even that comes with absurd and expensive strings attached. That is why Mrs Thatcher demanded and got the rebate, we had such a poor deal before she did.

    Why on earth should we pay relative to GDP anyway. Clubs do not usually charge depending on how rich the members are. They should charge relative to what the benefits of membership are. In the case of the EU they are clearly negative benefits on balance.

  3. Mark B
    May 12, 2016

    Good morning.

    Town’s and people like those that live in places like Grimsby, Fleetwood and Hull have been sacrificed by the political elite and the establishment for the sake of their EU dream. And those people, like Heath thought it was a price worth paying, not that they were ever going to pay the price themselves.

    A vote to remain is not a vote for the status quo, it it is a vote for EVER CLOSER UNION and the creation of a Federal EU. One which we will be expected to be part of in the future and one where we will be expected to pay for.

    Those that vote to remain in the EU will come to regret their decision just like those that voted to remain part of the EEC back in the 70’s.

    OUT !!!

  4. JJE
    May 12, 2016

    Reading this Bloomberg article the thing that strikes me is how little most people know about the EU and the need for the most basic facts. Talking about fish quotas means nothing to most voters when the best they can say is “We weren’t taught about the EU at school”. They sincerely want to make the right decision but are dreadfully ill informed.
    Which brings us back to that appalling leaflet I suppose.

  5. Simon
    May 12, 2016

    We would also be able to re-impose the 12/200 mile limits as well, bringing in revenue from foreign vessels. Sadly we wouldn’t be able to enforce the limits because we don’t have sufficient fishery protection vessels anymore.

  6. Antisthenes
    May 12, 2016

    The only beneficiaries of the EU are Germany and France and the latter is slowly losing that as the euro has backed fired on them(although Hollande’s socialist policies and practices have exacerbated that problem). The EU was designed and launched by a Frenchman Monet so was constructed using those nations as a template. So naturally Brussels has a bias towards those two nations when deciding rules and policies.

    Germany has now become the predominant power in the EU as it can not go without notice that Merkel dictates EU policy. Euro-zone austerity, immigration and David Cameron’s non deal and more were all on terms decided by her. CAP is there to benefit the French as a French president who does not have farmers on side is in serious trouble. The UK coughed up more cash to reform it . As usual Brussels no doubt urged on by the French renegade on that.

    I was under the impression that it was the Spanish who benefited from the common fisheries policy. In any event it was not the UK who in fact suffered the most. Now you tell us that is the French. Well surprised I am not. As I say above Brussels will bend over backwards to accommodate Germany and France and if that means shafting the UK in the process they are more than happy to oblige.

  7. NickW
    May 12, 2016

    Please don’t forget the Scottish fishing industry. Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Banff, MacDuff, and Aberdeen itself would all see their economies rejuvenated and compensated for the decline in the oil industry. This is reason enough for Scotland to vote to leave.

    As for Boris’ bus which is German, and would apparently be more expensive if we left because of WTO Tariffs—–. Who would put these tariffs on? If we did, it would be our choice, to encourage our domestic industry, if the Germans did, they would be penalising their own industry, which seems rather improbable. Then their is the supposition that diesel fuel would be more expensive if we left the EU, it was not explained why. We do not buy fuel from the EU and currency movements and the oil price are affected by far more significant factors than our membership of the EU.

    Boris’ bus would be more expensive if we leave the EU is a piece of nonsense.

  8. Martyn G
    May 12, 2016

    You remind me, John, that it was a Conservative PM, one Edward Heath, who decided that the UK fishing industry could be surrendered to the EU fleets because, as he said at the time, ‘it would not affect a significant number of people’. I thought at the time that it was a traitorous decision and have seen nothing since to persuade me otherwise. It was and still is indeed ‘the rape of the UK fishing industry’……

    1. getahead
      May 12, 2016


  9. They Work for Us?
    May 12, 2016

    Off topic you reported on the outcome of the leaflet vote yesterday that:

    “Reply There were many good Leave speeches, no single backbench speech for the government and the government lost the vote.”

    But what does this mean in terms of UK Democracy other than an unreported, ignored position on the moral high ground. Where is the supremacy of Parliament?
    Surely in a proper democracy, the proposed surcharge of the Ministers to reimburse the public for the illegal use of public funds involved should follow. Such a proposal would cause the media to report on it, it would be too big and attractive a story.

    What happens if there is a public petition to surcharge those involved that reaches the scale of that which ensured the leaflet debate?

    Reply The vote was on a motion that this house has considered, so technically now the government has to schedule another debate on the same topic. I doubt they will, and doubt we would get a majority on the substantive issue underlying this, as of course Labour and the SNP support the government’s leaflet. There is no official opposition on any EU matter which is why we have had such trouble since 2010 in winning important votes on the EU.

  10. Bob
    May 12, 2016

    The BBC 6 o’clock news had an EU fact report last night. In summary we pay in a tiny amount to the EU and receive huge benefits in return. Countries like Italy pay in far more than the UK. The conclusion was that Brexit would be disastrous.

    This morning I hear that the anticipated reform of the BBC has been cancelled and the licence fee will be increasing.

    The long march continues…

    1. getahead
      May 12, 2016

      The long march to a UKIP government.

  11. Ian Dempster
    May 12, 2016

    One thing that should be highlighted is that once we get our fisheries back, the fish will be landed in, and help rejuvenate, our ports. More jobs, more money. Exactly what is needed in those areas.

    1. Boudicca
      May 12, 2016

      Yes. There is a good reason why depressed coastal towns tend to have strong UKIP support.

  12. Iain Moore
    May 12, 2016

    Our Fishing industry also shows up other effects, that of the failings of EU governance where the EU had fishermen dumping close on a million tons of fish a year into the North Sea purely because of the inertia of EU policy making. We could all see that it was wrong, but were powerless to get any speedy changes. This inertia we saw in EU policy making with the CFP, is unfortunately not confined to the fishing industry, for we see the same inertia blighting the economies of European nations.

    It also shows up the corruption of our Governance, where our Executive puts in play industries and communities as negotiating chips in private EU treaty negotiations, that excludes our representatives, in order to get action else where.

  13. Bert Young
    May 12, 2016

    Its the bureaucratic mess that exists in Brussels that has brought about the decline and state of our fishing industry ; the system has been dreamt up by over-paid idiots who have not a clue on the damage it has done . We should have no more of this interference and get “OUT”.

    1. Tad Davison
      May 12, 2016

      I wholly agree Bert.

      I think we should be able to hold all British politicians to account who signed us up to this mess in the first place, but these people are always allowed to retire with a fat pension, or are elevated to the peerage after selling us out.

      And using one failed Gordon Brown as an example, they can then come back to con us all over again with an air of assumed respectability using the argument that belonging to the EU and leading it, is where we need to be, which as we know, is never going to happen because it is going in completely the wrong direction toward ever-closer union, so who is he trying to kid?

      It’s a pity the fishermen couldn’t take out a private action against the ones who destroyed their industry. It was certainly un-British to put another master before the primary interests of this country, as John’s excellent analysis clearly shows.


    2. forthurst
      May 12, 2016

      “[the CFP] has been dreamt up by over-paid idiots who have not a clue on the damage it has done .”

      Actually, it was dreamt up by the French to steal our fish and destroy our fishing industry six months before Edward Heath’s ‘successful’ negotiation to pass us bound and gagged to our traditional enemies on the Continent. It verifies the fact that so far as the Franco-German axis was concerned bygones were not bygones and goodwill did not come into it. Subsequently, they announced, unsuccessfully, that our oil would also be a common resource, but this time they were frustrated because, presumably, our oil companies have more sway with our corporatist governments than those traditional small businesses that brought great prosperity to our fishing ports and fed us like our farmers used to with wholesome food. The EU is the enemy of small business, the enemy of the nation state and the enemy of what this once great country built up over a thousand years. It is quite clear that the EU, the USA and the internationalist haters of the Enlightenment, some of whom clearly infest our country and CMD’s regime want to keep us in permanent vassalage to the Brussels regime whose behaviour resembles more and more the Bolshevik empire so admired by David Miliband’s father and others like him.

    3. getahead
      May 12, 2016

      ¨Its the bureaucratic mess that exists in Brussels that has brought about the decline and state of our fishing industry.¨
      More like the traitorous liberal mess in Heath´s head, may I suggest.

  14. Ian Wragg
    May 12, 2016

    Fishing was just the beginning of the EU trying to bankrupt Britain. A few days ago we were paying £1250 per megawatt hour for electricity. 50 times the going rate due to the ridiculous EU inspired energy policy.
    Today we learnt Dave refuses to debate the EU. As Maggie said he’s frit.
    It looks like the wheels are coming off Italies banking sector.
    Just what is it that attracts politicians to this Soviet inspired organisation.

    1. Mitchel
      May 12, 2016

      “Just what is it that attracts politicians to this Soviet inspired organisation”

      The complete and utter lack of accountability;wouldn’t every careerist politician want that if they could get away with it?We are quite close to it here with the seeming inability to hold recent governments to account for their naked lies and outright deception.

      At least almost all the old Bolsheviks were bumped off;too much to hope for here.

    2. Lifelogic
      May 12, 2016

      What indeed does attract politicians and most of the state sector to the anti democratic socialist lunacy that is the EU?

      Just group think lunacy, a good career, generous expenses, special tax benefits, an excuse for an even more bloated government, the desire to boss people around and nice gold plated pension?

      1. jane4brexit
        May 14, 2016

        Brexit the Movie is available on YouTube and lists many facts and figures which seem crazy re both eu employees pay and expenses and the demise of the fishing industry (crazy is the word used by a 74 year old fisherman)…and has much more. It is 1 hour and 11 minutes long and I have watched it twice. It really should be shown on tv, if only to balance the daily pro eu programmes. I haven’t even heard the movie premiere mentioned as a news topic on the bbc. Might the result re the bbc investigation, being tamer or lamer than expected, be linked to the pro eu coverage?

  15. Chris S
    May 12, 2016

    We have heard little about this important subject over the last few weeks. These figures are even more stark that others that have been published.

    One note of caution : are we sure that the French figures are for fish that is caught by boats owned and manned by French fishermen and landed in France ? That is not the case with a particular Dutch boat that takes a huge percentage of our fish but which appears in the British figures because it is registered in Britain and partially crewed by Brits. However it lands its entire catch in the Netherlands.

    More work should be done on calculating and publicising the damage being done by the Common Fishing Policy to the economy of fishing ports around our country, not just among fishermen but the processing industry and support services : boat building and maintenance, for example.

    I have proposed before that one of the first uses we should put some of the £15bn pa of money that will be returned to British control ( ie our net contribution and the money that we pay to Brussels that they currently dictate how it is spent ).

    On 24th June the government should initiate the construction of a new fleet of British designed and built fishing boats and to lease rather than sell these boats on very favourable terms to experienced fishermen. The skippers of these new boats must be prepared to go to sea with a mixture of experienced British crew and British youngsters that want to train to be fishermen.

    There is no reason why Vote Leave should not make this an important feature of the campaign as it will go down very well in the North East, the South Coast, Devon, Cornwall and crucially, the many Scottish fishing ports that have suffered so much from the common fisheries policy. Scottish fishermen will need some of the biggest and most expensive new boats to operate safely in the North Sea. They could never raise the cash to buy suitable boats and run them at a profit.

    1. stred
      May 14, 2016

      Former great fishing ports such as Hull are looking forward to a new industry, sending boats out to the Dogger Bank but not for fish. Servicing 600 ft wind turbines and cables producing electricity 3x as expensive as present will provide jobs. Whether fishing boats will be able to dodge between the turbines has not been explained. At least it may provide a safe no go zone for fish. The turbines are predicted to last 13-20 years before they have to be renewed. It sounds like a high- tech version of paying workers to dig holes and fill them in again. Nice work for ex- ministers running the consortium too.

  16. Denis Cooper
    May 12, 2016

    Off topic, news about TTIP this morning:


    “Frustrated EU seeks strategy for US trade talks”


    “On services, the US has made it a prerequisite that the EU drops its reservations, the exceptions it wants to include in the deal, in particular to protect public services.”

    An EU diplomat said “This is completely unacceptable”.

    Cameron and his Remainder allies should be asked whether it is also “completely unacceptable” to them, given that they have made so much noise about the supposed benefits of this proposed deal and put it forward as a reason to stay in the EU.

    1. Mitchel
      May 12, 2016

      The US is also interfering in EU energy policy again this week,declaring the proposed Nordstream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany to be a “threat to national security”,by disrupting plans to sell expensive US produced LNG to Europe and knocking Ukraine out of the distribution network and therefore upping the cost of western support for that country.

    2. Dennis
      May 12, 2016

      Why has there been no mention in the media and here about the TTIP leak put out by Greenpeace showing the unacceptable provisions in it?

    3. Chris
      May 12, 2016

      Cameron had apparently not requested any reservations to protect our NHS, unlike many other Member States, and it is this absence of key reservations that has been concerning the main union opposed to TTIP (Unite, I think).

      It is interesting that in one lawyer’s analysis(pro EU individual writing on Labour leaning website) of TTIP and reservations, the conclusion was that the NHS did not need reservations to protect it (assurances by EU officials that TTIP would only be interpreted in a certain way were apparently enough to protect it!). If that indeed is the case, why then is the US apparently so keen to get rid of the reservations? They obviously do serve a function that is apparently detrimental to US interests!

  17. Northern mountaineer
    May 12, 2016

    Do housewives and shoppers or cooks realise we are an island any more? Surrounded by fish – our own fish. We ignore our own fish at our peril. Healthy local sustainable managed food from our own waters – perfect for child nutrition and the old. Fresh British fish. My old university town was a huge fishing port and the fresh wet fish on sale was a delight to the eye. The town was a bit smelly on Friday with the right wind, but at least it was connected with nature! Unlike the totalitarian and derelict EU.

    1. stred
      May 12, 2016

      It is true that fish is a healthy food for brain and circulation and as a nation we would do well to eat more of it. After WWII we had about 45m people to feed and this rose to around 50m in the 50s. Now the official statistic is 64.4m. But according to yesterday’s DT the number may be higher still and rising.

      The NI card count over the last 5 years is greater by a factor of 2.3. 2.4+ m against 0.9+. The number of GP registrations is even higher by 4m. The reasons are clearly explained. Even the NI numbers, which may include people who work then go home for a while may not include those who do not need to obtain a card, such as dependents and casual cash workers.

      All probably need NHS, housing, transport, food, water, electricity, fuel and some schools. Some will need tax credits and HB. Ian Duncan-Smith made this point and drew attention to the link between house prices and net immigration.

      I hope this will not be moderated for a reason not clear

    2. stred
      May 12, 2016

      Today’s DT gives the new number of arrivals from the EU as 1.5m over the last 5 years ans 800k last year. But the ONS still thinks its passenger survey method, giving 260k is better, as they are asked whether they intend to stay more than a year. Are they serious? All my friends and contacts from the EU come and go but all work here, need NI cards and need housing and other services and food.

      I can’t see the end of the link on my little computer to copy.- google 1,5m eu immigrants DT 12.05.2016

  18. Hamsterwheel
    May 12, 2016

    The Daily Scaremonger (aka FT) aren’t that big on fishing, which explains a lot.

  19. Shieldsman
    May 12, 2016

    How can we believe anything David Cameron says. He is a bigger Conman than Tony Blair with his WMD. Who is going to leak Chilcot?

    Cameron came up with his ‘cock and bull story’, I have reformed the European Union.
    The legality of this statement without a Treaty change should be challenged.

    The beast of both worlds, we will be in the parts of Europe (should have read EU) that work for us.
    So the CAP, CFP and freedom of movement work for us? I do not think many people with any knowledge and common sense would agree.

    Cameron cannot remain as PM when we BREXIT, he would make a complete and utter b – – – s of it.

    1. acorn
      May 12, 2016

      Surely there will have to be a General Election straight after a Brexit success. Or, do we continue with a coalition government of Tory Brexiteers and Tory Remainers?

      Or, do the Tory Eurosceptics, take curtain calls, for the good show they put on for the proletariat. Then it’s trebles all round in the HoC bar. As Boris and Joe 90, are the only high-vis sceptics, I guess they will get the Oscars.

      Then someone will have to start up the “let’s join the EU” campaign; and, there will have to be another “once in a lifetime” Scottish Referendum. It’s all too much for me, I give up. ;-(

      1. bluedog
        May 12, 2016

        We have seen peak SNP, there won’t be another referendum. If Brexit succeeds and the fishing grounds return to the UK, one can’t seriously imagine the Scots voting to loose them again by joining the EU in their own right. Arguments from Cameron that the UK will splinter after Brexit collapse on this point.

  20. fedupsoutherner
    May 12, 2016

    Great post again John, and again, I have sent to all my friends/family to point out how destructive belonging to the EU has been for the UK.

    Will be away for the next 10 days so will have to catch up on what you are writing on my return. I will miss it.

  21. a-tracy
    May 12, 2016

    Can you explain how France ended up with such a big quota in relation to us?
    Are the calculations based on population or forward exports of fish collected and why should France be given more or was that the deal that allowed us to rejoin in 1976? I just don’t understand why 27 other nations would vote for one state to benefit to such a huge degree over another?
    We should insist on being allowed to fish enough to feed our own population minimum. Was the awful policy of throwing fish back in, that the tv chef highlighted, ever rescinded?

  22. Denis Cooper
    May 12, 2016

    It’s odd that neither of the official Remain campaigns – the one designated by the Electoral Commission, and the other one run by the government* – ever mentions this when they’re dismissing the so-called “Norway option”, ie the EEA or something similar.

    * http://order-order.com/2016/05/11/remain-spending-twice-as-much-as-leave-thanks-to-taxpayer/

    “Remain spending twice as much as Leave, thanks to taxpayer”

  23. ed hirst
    May 12, 2016

    The fishermen of England, who served their country by providing food and crewing the minesweepers in the two great wars, were cynically sacrificed by Heath in his desperation to join the Common Market.
    I remember during the 60s fishing on the Yorkshire coast, how prolific fish were, the excitement when the shoals of mackerel came in. Now nearly all gone, the North Sea fished out. A resource held “in common” is never properly preserved.

  24. A different Simon
    May 12, 2016

    Reduced quotas to prevent overfishing of wild fish for human consumption and reservation for our own fleet may not have the desired effect on fish stocks or the industry .

    Due to changes to the ecosystem , fish are just not coming to UK waters in the first place .

    Fish need a reason to be in a particular place at a particular time .

    The stock of wild bait fish like sand eels which the fish we like to eat feed on has been vandalised to provide cheap protein for farmed fish , farmed mammals and farmed poultry .

    Typically it takes 3-4 kg of wild fish to add 1kg to a farmed salmon , farmed bass , farmed trout .

    Quotas for wild fish which are not consumed by humans are virtually non-existent .

    Bait fish have been so mercilessly overfished in the North Sea that Cormorants have fled inland with a resultant devastation of freshwater fish populations .

    Legislation needs to be enacted to incentivise farmed fish producers to source alternative sources of protein .

  25. Iain Moore
    May 12, 2016

    Not forgetting that it was the EU who licensed sand eel fishing in the North Sea, allowing the Dutch to take 900,000 tons, for fertiliser, pig food etc (UK 20,000 tons) which had a devastating effect on the sea bird population as well as effecting higher up the food chain, like Cod and Salmon, for which sand eels are an important food source.

    1. A different Simon
      May 13, 2016

      Iain Moore ,

      Thinking about it further , it’s also a nice little hidden helper from the EU to the farmed fish industry .

      The farmed fish industry gets to restrict the supply of sand eels to wild fish thus making wild fish scarcer and increasing the price differential with their own farmed product .

      Take a look at ( a named company ed) company which has patented a much more efficient commercial scale fermenter which uses naturally occurring bacteria to turns methane into single cell protein in the same way as happens in nature .

      This has been done previously before but was uneconomic due to the high price of natural gas and a less efficient fermenter .

  26. rk
    May 12, 2016

    Are you sure of those numbers you’ve written?
    If true- they seem a rather damning indictment of Richard Benyon/George Eustace’s negotiating skills!

    But as far as I can make out from the poorly structured Council Regulations summary…

    The largest area for cod and haddock is

    Zone IV

    And the UK is entitled to 11,369 of the 29,189 TAC.
    The UK gets the largest share at 38.9%, followed by Denmark and Norway (about 17% each).

    For Haddock- the figure seems to be 28576 from 40,711 TAC- which is about 70% to the UK.

    For common sole- the vast majority seems to go to the Netherlands for some reason.

    Apologies if I have misread the figures which were confusingly presented.

    of 19 January 2015

  27. William Long
    May 12, 2016

    I attended a Vote Leave rally in Plymouth a couple of weeks ago and not surprisingly in this part of the world, the fisheries issue took up a good deal of the time for questions. From conversations I had afterwards it does look as if the fishing industry has got its act together across the UK and could well have a positive effect (I am assuming we all take a positive view of Leaving) on the voting pattern in the East coast of Scotland.

  28. DaveK
    May 12, 2016

    John, may I say I use your column frequently to inform my friends and as many others as possible on social media, but for the undecideds or remain people they always ask where figures have come from. I know you are very busy, but since you can quote figures such as today’s fishery ones, may I be a pain and ask you to put a link at the bottom to the source. This prevents the “well he would say that wouldn’t he” comments. Thanks again for all your efforts.

    Reply I have put the source in for you. I usually take figures from UK govt or EU official sources.

    1. rk
      May 13, 2016

      Yes many thanks for providing the source for the figures and the regions you are looking at. (your link is missing the ‘__’ I think…)

      Having provided them- it seems that you’ve excluded the areas where the UK is allowed to catch most of its fish.

      The total TAC for the UK is:

      over 5 times higher than France for cod
      over 4 times higher than France for haddock

      Now that may still be unfair since the UK has more waters than France etc… but it’s a different picture than the one you painted.

  29. Dennis
    May 12, 2016

    There has been quite a lot of discussion/debate on the EU for the past few weeks in the media but fish has never been mentioned!

    And if the Fish Policy was so bad about quotas etc., altho we had to accept it, who were the politicians and others who kicked up a mighty row about it? No one?

  30. Know-dice
    May 12, 2016

    How did we manage to get to this state?

    Why are the French allowed such a large proportion of the “Allowable Catch”?

    And off topic:

    “Vote Leave is considering legal action after ITV decided to put Nigel Farage up against David Cameron in an EU referendum TV special.”

    I reckon Nigel Farage will do a MUCH better job of this than either Gove or Johnson, he doesn’t mind “burning bridges” and appeasing potential future colleagues.

    Boris is great but does waffle, Gove really should have been much more scathing about Osborne on the Marr show…

    And Vote Leave have not really made much of an impression to-date…”keeping their powder dry”, maybe but for how long?

    1. Know-dice
      May 12, 2016

      He [Farage] is a bit “Marmite” for some, just as well I like it 🙂

      1. Fairweather
        May 12, 2016

        Weather you like Nigel Farage or not,everyone will be tuned in to see the bull fight in the ITV “debate ”
        He will tear Cameron to shreds

      2. John C.
        May 12, 2016

        I can only assume that those who dislike Nigel Farage do so because he is a powerful destroyer of their cause. He seems genial, honest and forthright to me; that could be a problem for some.
        At least our Prime Minister does not share the same qualities as Marmite, because he is distrusted in all quarters. Cannons to the Left of him, cannons to the Right.

    2. Beecee
      May 12, 2016

      I bought the Vote Leave T shirt but I agree – they are really making a cods of it!

      Mr Farage will happily take on anybody from the Remain camp, and blow them away; including not being scared to accuse them of telling porkies which they are doing with some frequency. As he did with Mr Clegg.

      He is on the same OUT side and Vote Leave should be determining the best ways to use his talents rather than putting up anodyne politicians who serve only to encourage slumber.

      1. stred
        May 13, 2016

        It was reported that the debate will be conducted with questions asked separately with no real discussion between Cameron and Farage. Also, that Farage will go first, allowing Cameron to have the last lie. Farage will have to anticipate the fudged responses and answer them before , making Cameron’s answer look like a predictable lie.

  31. javelin
    May 12, 2016

    You may want a different headline.

    We can double the UK fishing fleet and still half the total number of fish caught.

  32. David Price
    May 12, 2016

    This has always irked me though I wasn’t aware of the atrocious disparity in allocations. What on earth were previous governments thinking!

    It should be made clear on brexit that foreign fishing vessels are not permitted in our waters and some of the ex-EU funds can goi to help regenerate our fisheries and fleet.

    You might need to bolster the FPV fleet a bot too.

  33. Bill
    May 12, 2016

    Completely agree. All those east coast towns that were so important in the first part of the 20th century and which, in WWII, helped defend our shores from invasion have been reduced to cheap holiday resorts without any underpinning industry.

    May 12, 2016

    Growing Pinocchio noses is no threat to the Remaindear Campaign.They time-jump from the original EU destruction of our fishing industry to a more recent event. They claim recent negotiations mean the EU generously gives us more of our own fish back.

    But some of these Remaindear MPs have UK fishing port electorates. Politicians are loathe to “blame the voter” or “blame the audience”. No-one at the time thought the EU was doing anything but close down our fishing industry with great job losses.But our people do have a vote.They voted irresponsibly. Wrongly. They voted to lose their jobs and our fish.True, any MP of any Party could not by himself defeat the EU fishing policy. Though he could at least shout foul.

    It is a sad fact of our UK democracy, that people in “rock-solid” Party areas vote tribally as it is called. Some flatteringly call it “voting loyally”. Whatever the case, they need to think on. But kids need proper teachers. Ours are poor and blank. It is reflected when as adults they cannot properly even write the letter “X” in the appropriate box out of a choice of usually two, to save their lives.

    May 12, 2016

    Fish and chips from a “Fish n’ Chip” shop” provided one of the most balanced meals. A huge piece of protein-rich sea-meat with necessary potato carbohydrates containing numerous vitamins and minerals. A comparably sized and valued piece of meat is as far as I’m aware not being eaten by many of our people., now.

    Even canned stewed steak priced under £1 almost disappeared from our supermarkets and corner shops a few months ago. Now available in very limited brands ( check it out ) but priced say over £2.30p. Some corner shops have stopped stocking it as “Our customers can’t afford it ” and some popular brands even of sausages are not being stocked let alone bought “because the price has gone up too much.”

    Not to disparage sausages and corned beef. But some in the industry doubt their worthiness for some reason. Many families, even the more prosperous ones because of the quick-moving pace of life, choose fast foods which appear to be some kind of mishmash of if not spurious forms of meat but certainly containing large amounts of non-meat products and herbal/ chemical meat-taste exaggerators.

    The Chinese and other advancing economies are in fact buying more meat on the international market. This is a fact. Huge amounts more. So they should. Diets of their peoples have been far from what we would regard as even half adequate.

    Which leaves us with our fish. Does not require intensive farmland, EU or UK subsidies. Pure, massive pieces of meat, our meat, our fish, in our waters.

    The Remaindear Camp would have us eat offal. This is their menu for the UK. With a bag of Lemon Grass crisps thrown in

    May 12, 2016

    Bank of ……England. At it again. “Perhaps” “Maybe” “Could be” ” Possible Danger” “Possible, may be, perhaps, drop in the Pound and Stock Exchange”.
    After Brexit our country really does need a genuine Bank.

    1. Jack
      May 12, 2016

      I have no confidence whatsoever in the BoE’s forecasts because they fundamentally misunderstand how our monetary system actually works. Those of us who understand modern monetary theory (MMT) know that it is always possible for a monetarily sovereign government to maintain full employment and prosperity domestically.

      The only issue with Brexit is whether we can retain our trade links, which we surely will. Protectionism helps no-one and the EU would be risking the strength of their currency by allowing their trade surplus with the UK to collapse. Also their consumers benefit from our products too and it would be extremely foolish for them to refuse to trade with us.

  37. Atlas
    May 12, 2016


    Slightly off topic:

    I read in today’s Daily Express that the EU is still wanting to ban higher powered electric Kettles. Since it takes exactly the same amount of energy to boil a given amount of water then all this ban does is make people wait longer for their tea !

    Yet another good reason for voting Leave.

    ( Energy = power * time is the relevant bit of Physics.)

    1. Know-dice
      May 13, 2016

      The same as with vacuum cleaners, it’s all about efficiency rather than raw power…

      Maybe your formula should be:

      Energy = (power * time)+(conversion losses)

      1. Atlas
        May 13, 2016

        What you say is true,

        … but physically larger motors are usually more efficient …

        … and the conversion of electrical power into heat in a kettle is 100% …

        Finally, I only have a finite lifespan so I don’t want to waste it by waiting longer for a low powered kettle to boil.

  38. Payne by name
    May 12, 2016

    Do we really need to worry about the fish as all I’m hearing is that if we vote Brexit the oceans will run dry just before the asteroid strikes Royal Tunbridge Wells!

  39. Boudicca
    May 12, 2016

    We can’t just blame the EU for the appalling distribution of quotas in favour of the French. British “negotiators” agreed to the destructive Common Fisheries Policy and the anti-British quotas the EU imposed.

    We have been extremely badly served by our Governments since Heath dragged us into the EEC and Whitehall since the decision was made to wreck our trading link with the Commonwealth in favour of making us subordinate to France and Germany in the EEC/EU.

    We don’t just need to get out of the EU. We need a complete clear-out of the anti-British bureaucrats in Whitehall and the EU-serving members of Parliament (both Houses).

    1. David Price
      May 13, 2016

      Completely agree. I voted no last time because I didn’t want family and friends in the commonwealth abandoned and I have never forgiven that act. I have so many more reasons for voting out this time.

  40. Margaret
    May 12, 2016

    wonder what Mark Carney has to say about fish

  41. getahead
    May 12, 2016

    The loss of our fishing grounds was criminal. Even as young man in his twenties, I could see that it would be catastrophic to Britain. Heath should have been eviscerated for that.

  42. Ptolemaeus
    May 12, 2016

    No one’s going to vote for a recession, Carneys message must be overcome.

  43. Margaret
    May 12, 2016

    I am just watching the EU leaflet debate. Richard Drax is making an impressive argument as you and Bill Cash did .Mr Scully and I have forgotten his first name as I can’t get Hugh out of my mind were also excellent. I still cannot why DC has gone to such lengths to stay in; surely it can’t be personal gain and future security for himself

    1. Margaret
      May 12, 2016

      understand why DC etc

  44. turbo terrier
    May 12, 2016

    Sorry John but ToT.

    Having just sat throught The Invictus Choir programme on the BeeB then having to listen to Mr Mark Carney about the BoE thoughts on leaving the EU just makes the blood boil.

    He has a fault he is not English, British, call us what you like. Gareth Malone deserves to be elevated to the HoL for what he has done with those British veterans all who suffered the damage of serving this country. Those people can be magnified a million times over.

    We are proud of our country and we don’t care what COULD? happen WE WANT OUR IDENTITY AND SOVEREIGNTY BACK free to do what is best for us as individuals and as a country. We are totally sick to the back teeth of putting up with these elevated people treating us as idiots. We are fed up with our peers operating the shovel system! We do not want to hear from the Yanks, Canadians, IMF or what ever group that CMD calls upon to support him in staying in this EU club doomed to failure. History shows that it always ended in failure when countries of independent means try to operate under a single currency.

    Give us back or country, that is not too much to ask, is it?

  45. Mark
    May 13, 2016

    Unfortunately the EU is not Mostly Harmless, so we should indeed say So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.

    On a separate topic, I note the ONS are seeking to rely on STIM data to supplement LTIM data to try to explain the numbers of NiNos granted to foreigners. Part of the problem is that the LTIM data prove that IPS interviewees have been increasingly lying about (or at least underestimating) their intended duration of stay, since the numbers of LTIM immigrants previously claiming to stay for under four years now exceed the total number of emigrants – something that was not historically true before the era of large scale net immigration. It seems highly probable that a rising proportion of those claiming to be on very short visits or holidays are in fact planning to stay for rather longer, and that the ONS analysis cannot therefore be taken to be accurate.

    1. Mark
      May 13, 2016

      Chart of ONS LTIM data on intended duration of stay


  46. Lindsay McDougall
    May 14, 2016

    In estimating the potential gain from regaining our fishing waters – and rights – I have doubled the current annual fish revenue of £681 million and deducted an amount for the cost of enforcement by the Roral Navy, yielding a net gain of about £0.5 billion. Have I been too conservative?

  47. a-tracy
    May 14, 2016

    They’ll be coming after our water next, saying we have to share it out, isn’t that the only thing left.
    Whatever powered kettles we have isn’t going to stop the energy surge requirement during commercial breaks of popular tv programs.
    We need respected mathematicians to explain that fast speed kettles and toasters require the same amount of power but in a shorter time span, this is just an out and out attack on the British way of life, and our tea and bread manufacturers need to think on if we all change to the continental lifestyle of coffee machines and patisseries instead of tea and toast what will their future business models look like, if indeed they manage to compete against the imports.

    whoever controls the power controls us all. We should resist. We should ask our students to really work on ways to make our homes self-powering and quickly but why would this be in any governments interest when they prefer to keep us in fear and use greed as a weapon, hence this horrendous Remain campaign.

    You’re going to each lose £2000 pa
    You could lose your job all together
    Your houses will drop in value (good)
    You’re going to go into recession (hello- aren’t we already in whilst in the EU club!)
    No-one will trade with us
    Interest rates will go up
    We won’t be able to work abroad ever again
    Our retirees in Spain will be expelled and not treated on their health scheme
    Foreign holiday costs will go up
    We’ll go back to the dark ages of 70’s Britain
    Oh and the final insult we’ll be at war

    OK Remain what do we get if we stay in? and what happens if you make any false dawn promises that don’t pan out, can we have a get out of the EU card if promises aren’t met within an agreed timescale?

    If as a nation we’re so pitiful and weak and dependent, how did we arrive at this state of affairs if the EU is so good surely we should be stronger by now? It’s weak, lily livered politicians that sell us down the river every year that goes by.

  48. adam
    May 14, 2016

    What do you make of this rebuttal to the UN. https://rayhblog.wordpress.com/myths/

    I have always had the feeling the fisheries fear claim was wrong, mainly because the EU and UN advocate it and their ideas are all debunked as beast I can figure it. But i had never seen one expert take issue with anything they were saying, and this one is the first one I ever heard of. Would not surprise me if Ray Hilborn is right.

    Reply I accept that overfishing of some grounds has led to serious stock depletion, but quantifying it is very difficult for obvious reasons.

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