but then does not bother to check his own facts before sounding off, and falls into the same trap.
"Environmental organisations often damage their own causes by overstatement. I am among those who have criticised Greenpeace and its brethren for abusing statistics and indulging in some pretty wild scaremongering."
He first admits stocks of herring are been fished sustainably, ( as are many pelagic stocks) yet then offers up a pelagic trawler (the Atlantic Dawn) as an example of the evils of modern fishing
Then we get
"Off northern Scotland, birds and fish are suffering from the near genocide of the sand-eels they eat, taken by netsmen for fishmeal."
Which is just plain untrue. There is very little sandeel fishing off the North of Scotland, and has not been for many years. The last I heard, even the tiny fishery left has stopped now. A scientific study was done into the collapse of the shetland sandeel fishery and found fishing had not been to blame; in fact it showed that Shetland sandeel were recruited from an unfished stock off Orkney ! The reason for the collapse is unknown but likely to be due to environmental factors.
Even the RSPB have stopped blaming fishermen for those bird collapses, yet Mr Hastings seems to think otherwise? wonder which quality source he used for his research? Sounds very like the kind of tosh Greenpeace et all keep putting out.
He also suggests Charles Clovers book "End of the Line" is important. I can't comment on the book, having never read it, but I hope it contains more accurate figures than the last two Telegraph articles I've seen by him, in which fishermen are accused of taking 750000 million tonnes of sandeel from the north sea each year . When I saw the first article, I presumed it was just a typo and poor editing, but since its cropped up yet again, im begining to wonder if he isn't confusing 750000 million fish with 750000 million tonnes? surely not...
"Wigan quotes a Scottish saying, from the days when God was feared. If herring deserted a locality, fisherfolk said, it was because of "the wickedness of the people". In a rather different sense from that intended, the old sages have proved right."
Would not like to comment on the spiritual side of Scottish life (though given that there are loads of herring atm perhaps we do have one after all...... ) , but an interesting old saying nonetheless, if only because it shows that the vanishing of stocks like herring is nothing new.
Theres plenty wrong with fishing and overfishing, esp of the big predators but it would be nice to see a piece by a journalist that actually knew what he was talking about.
The piece really is poor imho but I guess we can expect more of the same when the issue of access to reserves comes up, with a direct feed between the well oiled PR machinery of extreme environmental groups, and a hungry and lazy media
Edited by Jaffa, 01 November 2005 - 10:11 PM.