David Levy – The UK’s Brexit Decision – Jun 2016

Most of us woke up in the morning, listened to the news and reeled in shock from our joint decision — The nation has voted to leave the EU.

Ramifications are currently hogging the airwaves. Our Prime Minister will go shortly, and a new leadership will emerge. The world markets are rocking and trying to read the signs, whilst inevitably in the short term things will suffer.

All the NGOs have egg on their faces from this vote, and really misread the mood of the country.

Their advice was totally in line with government expectations, and for the duration of the vote they were allowed to campaign. We don’t know about you, but we received over thirty communications to vote Remain. Whatever our gut feelings on Remain or Leave, Marinet avoided taking any particular stance. We did publish information, but we did not see it as Marinet’s job to take a political position and to tell people how to vote, unlike many other NGOs.

As you know Marinet is not content with Government agencies and their laissez-faire attitudes towards their regulatory responsibilities. The vote to Leave should send a warning to all Government agencies that this is not a free-for-all for marine industries, but a time for fundamental change and improvements in their regulatory habits.

If the NGO World get behind this goal, then we really could have a fresh start.

This will take a revolution within their worlds. It will require a fundamental reversal in their thinking and make up. We would indicate to them that this vote to Leave is about change, and about better management of our resources and future direction.

Instead of lamenting the passing of EU membership, UK NGOs are now going to have to commit to some real campaigning, and to ditch their “lite” version of environmentalism. If marine and terrestrial conservation is going to be challenged by industry, as the NGOs have foretold, then NGOs are going to have to awaken anew and commit seriously to their defence.

The time for them to be serious environmentalists may have once again arrived.

From the marine perspective, the fishing industry has clearly not understood the need to conserve and restock depleted fish species. The UK industry has always repeated the mistakes made by fishing communities around the world, as shown in the book The End of the Line by Charles Clover.

As a separate nation we could and should make close alliances with Norway and Iceland which have demonstrated clearly how to manage our sea.

We will look to the future, and a chance to utilise our opportunities.

David Levy, and
Stephen Eades


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