David Levy – Battling Against Useless Outcomes – Feb 2014

January is such an exciting month with the promise of the New Year, but how quickly it reverts to old patterns. Now with February comes the shortest month in length, but seemingly a very long month by day. Going to work in the dark and returning in the dark, a vampire existence.

So what patterns am I talking about? Well, Defra is once again awaiting the public’s input to one of its consultations which means our co-ordinator, Stephen, slaves over the computer and Defra totally ignores anything it doesn’t want to consider — which, from our point of view, is everything we believe in! And that, if you didn’t already know, is a total ecosystem approachecosystem approach An ecosystem-based approach to management represents a new and more strategic way of thinking. It puts the emphasis on a management regime that maintains the health of ecosystems alongside appropriate human use of the marine environment, for the benefit of current and future generations. This requires setting clear environmental objectives both at the general and specific level, basing management of the marine environment on the principles of sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity, robust science, the precautionary principle and stakeholder involvement. Ref, DEFRA, Safeguarding Our Seas, section 1.17 (2002) to marine management.

Trying to find partners who we can work with is an ongoing search for the elusive.

I don’t think we are difficult people, just that we look at the whole situation rather than at small parts. I often feel NGOs tackle only the parts that are relatively easy, and ignore the thorny issues.

A good example of this was discards as being the solution to the Common Fisheries Policy.

Actually what gets delivered (eventually) will be inadequate, and not fit for purpose. And that purpose is? It is, the halting of the decline in European fisheries. In fact it is likely that as a result of the discard ban the opposite will occur, and that’s because the cracks in the system will allow more catch to be landed, either legally or illegally.

After 2013 was over, the CFP was put to bed. Now legally, EU countries are obliged to observe “maximum sustainable yield” (MSY) in their licensed catches and the management of stocks, but who will engage and enforce this legal requirement ?

Our researcher, Deborah, has looked at the myriad declarations of marine law, and they are very extensive indeed, but they are not enforced! The high sea is a lawless place and, until we multilaterally bring the wrongdoer within the law, then what is right and most necessary will be ignored.

Marinet is currently trying to choose its new campaigns, and we are engaged in pre-evaluation talks with those who we wish to work in tandem. We have things to decide, and I will keep you posted.

David Levy

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