Selling the silver: the enclosure of the UK’s fisheries

UK lost fishing rightsFishing quotas were meant to conserve stocks and support fishing communities, writes Emma Cardwell. But they have achieved the reverse – rewarding the most rapacious fishing enterprises and leaving small scale fisherfolk with nothing.The UK’s fisheries quota system, introduced in 1999 and comprising the creation of a private market for the right to catch fish, has been called “the biggest property grab since the Norman invasion”. Read more here 11:58

  • borehead

    From the article:

    Millionaire quota owners – the new Lords of the Sea

    This allocation method led to many low-catching fishermen being forced out of the industry as quota levels fell and they found themselves unable to survive during lean periods. Larger companies could then use their holdings as leverage for loans to buy up this quota, and ownership of the right to fish was consolidated.

    A stark example of this is the fishery for herring and mackerel. At one time made up of thousands of boats around the coast, over 99% of this valuable fishery – which accounts for almost half of total landings by UK registered vessels – is now caught by only 33 trawlers. [3]

    The value of these boats, and more importantly their share of UK fishing rights, runs to hundreds of millions of pounds. This increase in costs – the manifestation of the ‘resource rent’ promised by economic theorists – is turning fishing into a millionaires’ club. [4]

    And it means that the traditionally widespread small business structure of the fishing industry, in which a boat owner / skipper employs a crew on a share (or ‘lay’) system, is gradually shifting to a model of large company ownership with significant involvement from financial institutions.

    Of the 33 mackerel and herring boats mentioned above, 14 are owned by just five large companies, a share that increases with every boat sale. Two of these companies (and their associated rights to fish) are owned by non-UK multinationals. [5]

    • Joel Hovanesian

      The new world order. It’s all about total control. Control the food, control the people.

  • StripedBassHole

    Survival of the Richest enabled by the Government. This is especially true here in the U.S. of A. with “The Obama Ocean Policy”.
    There is some serious conflict when it comes to our Fisheries. In 1955 the Government developed Rules regarding the Government competing with Private Enterprise and these Rules also govern the actions of Non-Profits.
    To think Decades were sacrificed under strict Quotas and the closing of some of the Best Fishing Bottom only to be undermined by Dr. Jane’s (EDF Chairwoman) Sector and Catch Share Experiment that opened the Door to crush the Inshore Fishery and Bankrupt the small Boat Fleet. They left the Cage open and the Fox killed all the Chickens.
    Back to Non-compete, the Government enabled all this to happen. Then there’s the Non-Profits one example is CLF that in one Hand sues to have Regulations changed. Then in the other builds a Fish Quota Bank of it’s own. Call it what you will insider info or counting Cards. Someone needs to be brought to the back Room.
    KARMA will find you.