David Levy – Is there hope of a legal challenge, resulting in enforcement? – Feb 15

You will know from previous blogs that I am almost obsessive over the issue of ENFORCEMENT.

There has been a particular buzz that, after the European Ministers’ breach of fishing quotas against scientific advice, signs are appearing that the environmental movement is waking up to the need for action on this issue of enforcement.

Why it has taken so long I’m not sure because the reality has been that most of the proposed improvements in management were design-faulted to say the least in the earlier stages.

Certainly if the EU’s fishing subsidies had been targeted on the promotion of the technical implementation of monitoring and delivery, then the solutions and improvements would have been well under way by now.

More time which we don’t have has been wasted, and still the fish stocks are under strain. Some would say better action now than too late.

Could the elections be the reason why change, however small, is being proposed now? With elections in May, could we have an opportunity to improve British marine management and give an updated Marine and Coastal Access Act, teeth?

If UKIP gain a balance in power then they can force a vote on the EU. With this, could we choose to take back control of our waters from the EU-CFP?

Even if this dream happened what would be the consequence? I am sure that very little would change. Why do I say this — why do I think that we would not manage our resources like Norway does ?

I believe business controls DEFRA, our fisheries ministry, and until this power has been challenged in the courts then little will change whatever the opportunities.

So it is with pleasure I follow the campaign of the PEW Trust to bring together in Brussels the legal minds to discuss the options. Our John Stansfield will be there, and will report back in his blog.

I would caution you all to go into the changes I’ve discussed here with hope, but expect only a small improvement.

Our immediate history cautions us to expect little — even when some are saying we are now at the tipping point of no return.

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One Response to “David Levy – Is there hope of a legal challenge, resulting in enforcement? – Feb 15”

Neil Garrick-Maidment
Comment posted on 23rd February 2015

Dear Stephen, I fully agree with your point DEFRA is putting economics over the environment we have noticed that with the MCZMCZ Marine Conservation Zone process. they put the economic wishes of a handful of boat owners over the law. Both native seahorses species are fully protected under the WCA and yet despite numbers dropping from 40 to 1 at Studland bay in Dorset the site has been dropped as a Marine Conservation Zone.
Seahorses and the natural world generate millions of pounds to the local economy, boat owners cost it a lot of money in clearing up their rubbish and the cost to the environment and the cost of putting sea defences to protect the beach and cliffs would amount to tens of millions even though seagrass does it for free. Where is the sensible economic argument in that !!!

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