The Newsroom. Keep up to date with the latest news on over fishing and follow what those involved in the film and the campaign are up to.

Fishing News

Bluefin-Eating Surrender Monkeys?

It’s de rigueur in some quarters to dismiss France jokingly, as the Simpsons and some US political-types famously have done in the past. But the news today from Brussels suggests that the French government have made an embarrassing volte-face on bluefin tuna.

Just two months ago, none other than President Sarkozy himself announced that France would back a ban on international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna. This was huge news, as one of the principal fishing countries for the species, no one had thought they would take this position. This meant supporting the listing of the species under CITES, as is already the case for similarly-threatened species like rhinos, tigers, and gorillas. None of which, of course, are lucrative for big business or in high demand as delicious sushi.

France’s backing for a ban was promptly followed by the UK , Netherlands , Germany , Austria and Poland , all of them lining up to endorse the proposal by Monaco (the world’s first bluefin-free country). Amidst a flurry of media pressure, celebrity lobbying, and the influence of the End Of The Line, it seemed that bluefin had become a cause célèbre … and there was much rejoicing when the European Commission added its weight to the call for a ban just ten days ago.

So – just what has happened today? Well in order for the EU to back the proposal (and all 27 Member States would be bound by this) they needed to get a ‘qualified majority’ of 75%, effectively representing three quarters of the EU’s population. Because large and populous countries like France , Spain and Italy have voted against the proposal – there is in effect no agreement.

That means the decision will pass to Environment ministers from each of the EU member states at a later meeting, and it means that for all the press-posturing, none of the EU countries, or the EU itself, can co-sponsor Monaco ’s proposal to make a ban on the international trade in bluefin a reality.

Undoubtedly there has been fervent lobbying behind the scenes, by those with a vested interest, from the EU and beyond. And we know, too, that the ineffectual and shambolic Management Organisation ICCAT, currently tasked with looking after Atlantic bluefin, is desperate not to cede control to CITES. But we also know that others are wising up to the situation, with Mitsubishi Corporation last week reiterating its own concerns over the state of Atlantic bluefin.

So, as well as possibly being an embarrassing day to be European, today is not a good day to be a bluefin tuna – with reports surfacing just last week of the failures of enforcement and ever more illegal fishing of this beleaguered species.

As they say in France , plus ça change.


Which fish is at the end of your line?

The end of the line? Is this a film or an echo of the thoughts in my mind, somehow captured and recorded to be played to those that are prepared to listen to the truth that is unfolding all around us.

Fishermen from Portland Sea Bass company

Fishermen from Portland Sea Bass company

My name is Jason Hemmings, I am the managing director of a fishing company, Portland Sea Bass Ltd, that catches and sells seafood that is fished in a sustainable manner - by rod and line - direct to the customer.

We also dive for scallops picking each one individually from the sea floor whilst leaving their surroundings intact and unharmed.

I was invited to a screening of The End of the Line at which Claire Lewis, one of the producers of the film, was doing a question and answer session afterwards.

I would like to say that it was an eye opener but as a commercial fisherman I am all too aware of what is happening in our oceans and see the story unfolding in front of me every day.

I have only been a fisherman for three full years, this is my fourth, our main target species is the European Sea Bass. Currently this is not a pressured stock but in the not-too-distant future, it may well be.

If the fishing methods that are used to catch these fish by other fishermen, such as pair trawling, are not stopped, if politicians continue to ignore what they have paid their scientists good money to undertake and understand, if the policing of illegal fishing is not funded or they are not given the power to do anything about illegal fishing, if reserves are not set up, if closed seasons when fish are breeding are not introduced then the Sea Bass will go the same way that the rest of the fish are going - fish heaven. Which would be hell for all of us that depend on them for our livelihood.

We need to harness them not just harvest them.

Politicians find it hard to come up with solutions, they have to think about commerce - which is destroying our planet. They always act too late and the longer they leave it, the more the costs spiral and the less financially viable the solutions become.

Sometimes in politics dictators are needed just enough to get us back on the right tracks, so we can “do the right thing!” The dictator is… yep… that’s right… little old wise… you.

Start buying fish that is fished by sustainable methods, don’t buy fish that is endangered, buy fish that have finished their breeding season and are in season, so to speak.

Buy fish that belong to an accredited fishery. Ask where your fish comes from and what fishing method was used. If the person selling the fish doesn’t know, then don’t buy it.

If you stop buying fish and fish products that are not harvested in a sustainable manner, then the person catching them will not be able to sell their fish, their operation will not be profitable, they will either put their good head on and fish sustainably or go out of business.

If you stick to your guns you can make it happen. Don’t give in, be powerful, be part of it, be strong play your trump card and win.

You are trumps and the line is in your hand! What is at the end of it?


Charles Clover interviewed on Channel 4 News about bluefin tuna

Charles Clover, author of The End of the Line, appearing on Channel 4 News on the likelihood of a ban on bluefin tuna fishing.


European officials back international ban on bluefin tuna trade

The European Commission has given its backing for a suspension of international trade in the endangered Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna – following a celebrity letter calling on President Barroso to save the species from extinction.

The European Commission – led by Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for the Environment and Joe Borg, Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs – agreed to propose to ministers that the EU backs Monaco’s proposal to list the bluefin on on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The ban, which is hotly opposed by Japan and was also by Mr Borg’s officials, would ban all international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna, and give the endangered species a chance of recovery. The Commissioners said this ban would be “temporary.”

EU countries will decide whether to confirm backing for the proposal on Sept 21. The EU will vote as usual as a bloc of 27 countries at the CITES meeting in Doha, Qatar in March next year.

Conservationists have warned that the bluefin’s spawning population would be wiped out by 2012 in the Mediterraneal and Eastern Atlantic without a ban on international trade for stocks to recover.

A petition by supporters of The End of the Line’s campaign to reform European fisheries was sent to President Barroso this week.

The original signatories, including the actors Greta Scacchi, Stephen Fry and Colin Firth, have been joined, among others, by Joanna Lumley, the French food writer Sophie Andrieu, the vineyard owner Baron Eric De Rothschild, the Italian actress Valeria Golino and the American narrator of The End of the Line, Ted Danson.


Joanna Lumley and Elle MacPherson among celebrities to add names to bluefin tuna petition

With the future of the bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic likely to be decided in Brussels this week, supporters of The End of the Line’s campaign to reform the management of Europe’s fisheries have written to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission asking him to save the tuna from commercial extinction.

As The Independent reported at the weekend there are moves by Japan and DG Mare, the marine and fisheries directorate of the European Commission, to undermine the ban on international trade in bluefin until stocks recover that has been proposed by France, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland.

We, The End of the Line campaign, are calling on President Barroso to show leadership. The letter we have sent is below and we shall add any more prominent signatures as they come in.

19 July 2009

Dear President Barroso

You may be aware that the film “The End of the Line” based on the book by British journalist and author, Charles Clover, has had a tremendous impact in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe following its general release in June this year.

The story is a simple one - the massive public policy failure of fisheries policies around the world and, in particular, highlighting the EU’s own lamentable Common Fisheries Policy. The film describes graphically the plight of the Atlantic bluefin tuna, a magnificent animal now sadly fished almost to the brink of extinction.

The film has alerted the public to the tragedy of the oceans. Your Commission has a chance to show the European public that you are able to take corrective action. On Wednesday 9th September, the Commission is expected to be presented with a choice on the fate of the bluefin tuna.

On the one side, the fate of this animal can continue to rest with the Regional Fisheries Management Organisation, ICCAT. On past evidence this will be a disaster.

The alternative is the option recently proposed by the Government of Monaco and supported inter alia by various Commission services (although not DG MARE apparently) as well as by several Member States.

This would involve the listing of the tuna as an endangered species under Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES.

The choice calls for your leadership, Mr President. You will be acutely aware that the European public would be outraged if an emblematic species like the bluefin tuna would go extinct on your watch.

We call on you and your Commission to do the right thing and give the tuna the absolute protection it deserves.

Yours sincerely

Greta Scacchi
Stephen Fry
Colin and Livia Firth
Richard E Grant
Sophie Dahl
Emilia Fox
Tom Aikens
Sophie Andrieu
Joanna Lumley
Charles Dance
Fiona Shaw
Elle MacPherson
Zac Goldsmith
Damian Aspinall
Ben Elliot
Ben Goldsmith
Kate Goldsmith
Baron Eric De Rothschild
Laura Bailey
Valeria Golino
Ted Danson
Alan Rickman
Prince Urbano Barberini


Bluefin tuna are the new whales

  • This article originally appeared on

A last-ditch campaign to save the bluefin tuna is fast gathering support in Britain and will soon become a political and environmental issue in Australia where the species is being fished with indiscriminate abandon for super profits.

London’s celebrity chefs are taking the endangered fish off their menus and Waitrose supermarket has banned its sale. Fishmongers and restaurateurs throughout the country are being assailed - or so we read - by customers asking, “Do you source your fish sustainably?”

Bluefin tuna is on the brink of extinction through overfishing, and the issue is now so critical that both Britain and France are supporting a resolution by Monaco to ban fishing of the species when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) meets in Doha in October.

Japan, where a single fish can command more than $120,000, is expected to oppose the move. Let’s see what that gallant protector of the whale, Peter Garrett, decides to do.

The issue of overfishing has come to the fore in the past month thanks to the release of the critically acclaimed documentary The End of the Line, based on the award-winning book by London Daily Telegraph journalist Charles Clover. “Everybody knows there’s no fish left in the sea,” says Clover. “They probably caught them while we were filming it.”

Mature spawners are fished out in UK waters, and are fast disappearing in the Mediterranean, where bluefin are still being landed at a rate of at least 60,000 tonnes a year - three times the legal limit, with organised crime with Mafia links said to be involved.

Public concern has led to a significant shift in policy in Britain and France. Although France has Europe’s biggest bluefin fishing fleet, President Nicholas Sarkozy last month spoke out for the need to protect fishing stocks. “Ours is the last generation with the ability to take action before it’s too late,” he said.

British fisheries minister Huw Irranca-Davies followed suit, saying he will lobby the United States and other countries to support the ban on sales of bluefin.

The End of the Line, which premiered to critical acclaim at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, documents not only the bluefin issue but such cases of overfishing as the catastrophe of Newfoundland, home to the world’s most abundant supply of cod, which has been decimated since the early 1990s.

The film also shows how African coastal people, long dependent on fish, are losing their food supply to big commercial fisheries. And it demonstrates that fish farming, with its need for massive supplies of fish food, is no solution to the problem.

Scientists interviewed in the documentary predict that if fishing continues unchecked, the population of the oceans will be wiped out by 2048.

The End of the Line is an independent film made with the support of organisations including WWF, the Marine Conservation Society, Channel 4’s Britdoc Foundation and charitable foundations, and backed nationally by Waitrose.

It initiated a citizens’ campaign to change fish sales practices through consumer action. Jamie Oliver didn’t take tuna off his menus until clients started raising the issue. Japanese chain Nobu attracted spirited protests when it refused to stop serving tuna sushi in its London outlets.

The film-makers themselves are leading the campaign. Producer Claire Lewis, who says working on the project changed her life, doesn’t eat anywhere without first asking: “Can you tell me where your fish comes from?”

Author Charles Clover has been campaigning on the issue for five years now. “We must stop thinking of our oceans as a food factory,” he says, “and realise that they thrive as a huge and complex marine environment.

“We must act now to protect the sea from rampant overfishing so that there will be fish in the sea for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

This documentary, which has the hard-hitting quality of Michael Moore’s movies, deserves to be released in Australia but no distributor has yet stepped forward.


Aidan Brown’s bike lock Nobu protest in pictures and video

You may have seen the news from Wednesday when activist Aidan Brown staged a protest outside Nobu.

This video has been posted on video sharing site YouTube by Don’t Panic Media, that shows how events unfolded.

The restaurant chain is part owned by Robert De Niro and still serves bluefin tuna, although it has added a note to its menu stating that the fish is endangered.
Aidan Brown protests outside Nobu restaurant

The End of the Line has acquired some pictures of the one-man demonstration.

Dressed as a fisherman, Aidan used a bicycle lock to prevent customers entering the restaurant in Park Lane, London.
Aidan Brown puts signs up outside Nobu saying 'Gone Fishin'

He also put up a sign that read ‘Gone fishin” and another that said ‘For bluefin tuna’.
Nobu staff member talking to Aidan Brown outside the restaurant
He prevented diners from getting inside for over an hour.
Aidan Brown outside Nobu, in Park Lane, London

The protest, that was reported in the London Evening Standard, came to an end when the lock was finally removed by staff.


Study by Boris Worm and Ray Hilborn is both good and bad news

There was further coverage of The End of the Line last week - both reviews of the film and related conservation news stories.

The new study by Boris Worm and Ray Hilborn, who both appear in the film, that showed that fish stocks in certain areas had recovered slightly due to conservation measures was widely covered. The impact of the film was included in a number of these reports.

Fork in the Road, the food blog from Village Voice website in New York, highlighted the study, published in Science, saying there was good news and bad news. The bad news is still pretty bad . . . 63% of assessed fish stocks worldwide still require rebuilding.”

Gloucester Times also covers the story, referencing the film, it says: “Management efforts . . . have been effective in reversing declines caused by chronic overfishing.

“The report . . . is no cause for celebration or let-up in the recovery programs, even in the most advanced systems.”

Writing in Salon, Katharine Mieszkowski discusses the current efforts to save bluefin tuna, mentioning the part the film has played in raising the profile of the issue. However, it is referred to as ‘the muckracking documentary, The End of the Line’.

Another issue connected with the film that was in the news was the question of what advice the UK government will issue on how much fish we should be eating.

MPs from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said in a statement that the government “should consider the wisdom of continuing to advise consumers to eat at least two portions of fish a week at a time when the ability of the marine environment to meet this demand is questionable”.

Meatless in Miami, one of the Miami New Times’s Short Order food blogs, gives the film a mention. Lauren Raskine, says: “Based on the book by UK journalist Charles Clover who has extensively researched [our consumption of seafood, the film] asserts 1.2 billion people will potentially starve and it won’t be pretty, folks.”

The Pathways to Abundant Living blog reviews the film. It says: “The End of the Line is not against all fishing or eating fish. Instead it advocates a responsible attitude towards endangered and over-exploited species of fish

Canadian magazine Common Ground also carries a review The End of the Line. Robert Alstead writes: “Rupert Murray’s team brings memorable footage from around the world to connect the dots between consumer tastes and ocean depletion.

“The film is grimly fascinating and offers prescriptions for better fisheries management.”

Finally for this week, Local Vertical blog reports that Charles Clover’s book The End of the Line has been the inspiration for a song.

Entitled Coma, it is by Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle, and is taken from their new album Havana Winter, which is available from Kevin You can listen to it here.


Good news for fisheries - if we continue conservation measures

So. Is the glass half full, or half empty?

There are of course other options, and it may well be difficult to tell because you are looking at the glass from a funny angle.

Man holding tuna - The new report underlines that in large swathes of the worlds' fisheries conservation measures are not happening

The new report underlines that in large swathes of the worlds' fisheries conservation measures are not happening

That certainly seems to be the conclusion when reading the various media interpretations of an important new study published in the journal Science on the world’s fisheries.

The study’s key co-authors are Professor Boris Worm, and Professor Ray Hilborn – who can be seen verbally dueling over the state of the world’s fisheries in The End Of The Line.

Continue reading ‘Good news for fisheries - if we continue conservation measures’


The End of the Line renews call to Sir David Tang to end sale of shark fin soup

Earlier this week we reported on the row between Lord Antony Rufus-Issacs and Sir David Tang, owner of China Tang at The Dorchester Hotel, over the sale of shark fin soup by the restaurant.

The End of the Line started a campaign to ask China Tang not to serve shark fin soup, which proved to be short-lived as Sir David agreed not to serve the soup at the London restaurant following pressure from environment groups.

Screenshot of the Island Tang website showing shark fin soup

Screenshot of the Island Tang website showing shark fin soup

However, Sir David has come under renewed attack after it became clear that shark fin soup remains on the menu of Island Tang, the Hong Kong restaurant that he also runs. Continue reading ‘The End of the Line renews call to Sir David Tang to end sale of shark fin soup’


Why sharks belong in the sea, not in soup

To all you fellow ocean lovers, I know these screen shots will be an uncomfortable sight for you. They show the shark fin section of the menu for Island Tang restaurant in Hong Kong.

Screenshot of the Island Tang website showing shark fin soup

Screenshot of the Island Tang website showing shark fin soup

To me the thought of eating shark fin is about as appealing as eating a cheetah’s tail. Braised shark fin anyone?

There is not a chance in hell I would ever touch the stuff!

Second screenshot of the Island Tang website showing the other shark fin dishes

Second screenshot of the Island Tang website showing the other shark fin dishes

Why am I so passionate about sharks? This time last year I was living on a remote island around 14 hours boat ride off of mainland Fiji where I was helping on a marine conservation project.

I was lucky enough to dive at Shark Alley which has been described by Harper’s Bazaar magazine as ‘One of the worlds most enviable dive site’. I very much agree.

After doing our safely checks we dropped down into the sea and straight away as I was slowly lowering to deeper depths I could see 10 sharks. This became around 30 whitetip and blacktip reef sharks. I had only briefly dived with one shark before this, so I was a little nervous. Continue reading ‘Why sharks belong in the sea, not in soup’


Seafish - set to boycott bluefin tuna?

As per the great British tradition, there was something fishy in yesterday’s news: an interesting little snippet in PR Weekly, announcing that a new PR firm has been hired to work for Seafish.

Whitby seafront: Up until the 1950s bluefin tuna was caught off the East coast of the British Isles

Whitby seafront: Up until the 1950s bluefin tuna was caught off the East coast of the British Isles

Seafish, in case you didn’t know, are the industry body responsible for promoting (and, in many cases, defending) the fishing industry in the UK. They are paid for by us, both as a levy on the fish we buy, and in government funding.

The news here is that they are looking to communicate how the UK fishing industry is 100 per cent behind ’sustainability’, which is of course fantastic.

Not least because UK seas, like many others in Europe, have seen the most rapacious excesses of overfishing in decades and centuries gone by.

They also say that one of the issues they want to communicate is “the sale of bluefin tuna”.

Now, Seafish are rather late to that particular party for a number of reasons. Our own fisheries minister has already announced that the UK will back a ban on the trading of bluefin (as have Monaco, France and the Netherlands).

And of course Greenpeace, The End of The Line, WWF, Oceana, and many other organisations have been campaigning to change the perilous situation of bluefin for years.

But, of course, we welcome Seafish, belatedly, to the bandwagon. So what does this mean?

Will Seafish be supporting the ban on the trade of bluefin?

Will they be calling for a ban on the sale of endangered species like bluefin by restaurants like Nobu, as our fisheries minister has now done?

Just what will Seafish be doing to make sure bluefin tuna is rescued from the brink of extinction?

I’m certainly keen to find out.

Of course, some in the fishing industry have criticised The End Of The Line for focusing on bluefin, saying it’s not relevant to the UK. But that is where they are very, very wrong.

Not only is bluefin a species on the brink of extinction, something that should concern us all, but it is found in UK waters. That’s why the UK government’s announcement is meaningful.

Not only is the UK a ‘range state‘ for bluefin tuna, but we used to have our own bluefin tuna fishery in the North Sea. Up until the middle of last century, sports fishermen were catching bluefin off resorts like Scarborough and Whitby.

So if Seafish and the UK government are serious about the sustainability of our seas and our fish stocks, presumably they want to manage our seas for recovery, so that species that are no longer common can recover and thrive again in places like the North Sea.

That means designating large areas off-limits to fishing as marine reserves, both for the overall resilience of the seas, and for protecting specific areas of importance (such as the area around the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, which is a breeding ground for bluefin tuna).

Rather than see bluefin tuna as an irrelevance or a convenient media hook, I’m looking forward to seeing Seafish do something meaningful to ensure their continued existence.

  • Willie MacKenzie is part of Greenpeace’s Ocean Campaign. This blog post originally appeared on the Greenpeace UK website.


Campaign successes for The End of the Line

The End of the Lines Chris Gorell-Barnes and Charles Clover outside 10 Downing Street

The End of the Line's Chris Gorell-Barnes and Charles Clover outside Number 10

The makers of The End of the Line met with Downing Street officials this morning to outline their campaign, as news of further successes inspired by the film came to light.

Earlier this week The End of the Line launched a campaign to ask China Tang, the restaurant at The Dorchester run by Sir David Tang, not to serve shark fin soup.

We can now report that Sir David has said the restaurant will not be serving the soup.

Conservationist Lord Antony Rufus-Issacs had said that when he ate at China Tang he was offered shark fin soup - which was not on the menu. Having been inspired by The End of the Line, Lord Antony wrote to Sir David to protest.

There followed an angry email exchange between the two which led to a story in Richard Kay’s column in the Daily Mail and the launch of our short-lived, but successful, campaign.

The other piece of good news this week was for bluefin tuna, following the Netherlands’ announcement yesterday that it was backing proposals by Monaco to add the Atlantic bluefin to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

This came after France and Britain supported the global trade ban on the fish, late last week.

More news on the outcome of The End of the Line’s visit to Downing Street will follow in the coming days and weeks.

  • Bluefin tuna update, 23rd July: Germary has announced that it is supporting the addition of Atlantic bluefin tuna to Appendix I of CITES


Call for China Tang at The Dorchester not to serve shark fin soup

  • Following the news that China Tang will not be serving shark fin soup, we have stop collecting names to send to the restaurant. You can read our latest news here.

China Tang, the restaurant located in The Dorchester hotel run by Sir David Tang, has come under fire for allegedly selling shark fin soup.

Conservationist and film maker Lord Antony Rufus-Issacs says that he was offered the soup, which was not on the menu, when he dined at the restaurant last week. He has written to Sir David asking him to stop serving shark fin soup, after seeing The End of the Line.

In his letter, he said: “I have seen the film [The] End on the Line and was deeply effected [sic] by it as were so many people. I am writing to you as a result of seeing the film.”

China Tang has subsequently claimed that this was a ‘mistake’ by staff, and that they took shark fin soup off the menu months ago due to ethical concerns.

Shark fin soup is contentious as the fins are often ‘harvested’ by cutting the fins off live sharks that are then thrown back into the sea to bleed to death.

Shark fin soup is traditionally eaten on special occasions, such as weddings, in Chinese society. It is regarded as a status symbol due to the cost of the fins and has to be flavoured with stock as the fins themselves have little or no taste.

The End of the Line campaign abhors the practice of shark-finning and calls on China Tang to not serve the soup. We have compiled an email to send to China Tang, expressing your concern and asking them not to sell it.

You can view our protest over shark fin soup here.


Newlyn black fishing case: nominal £1 fines for 45 charges

Despite the old adage, it seems that crime does pay… at least if you are the Stevenson family of Newlyn.

Cod - Newlyn black fishing case: nominal £1 fines for 45 charges

Cod - The Stevenson family were fined £1 for each of the 45 charges that they were found guilty of

As reported by the BBC, the family, who operate fishing trawlers in Cornwall, were prosecuted for routinely landing illegal fish.

Not only were they landing species they had no quotas for, but they were doing so by passing them off as other species, so it was all pre-meditated and well-orchestrated.

They also conveniently ran the auctions where the fish are sold, and falsified the records of what fish had been sold to match what the skippers said they landed.

And it was also profitable - it’s estimated that £4m worth of fish were landed illegally. All the more galling that the firm is run by Elizabeth Stevenson, who was the former president of the National Federation of Fisheries Organisations.

But we can take solace in the fact that they were caught and prosecuted. They were found guilty of a total of 45 charges. And they have been fined accordingly… or so the judge seems to think.

On top of paying legal costs (£66,000) and being ordered to pay back £710,000, they have just been fined for the offences. But the total fine of the actual fine was £45. Yes, £45, I didn’t misplace the decimal point or under-report anything. One measly pound for every charge for which they were found guilty.

Just to set that in context: they profited by over £4 million… and are being punished by getting to keep over £3.2 million.

Whilst some may shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, it’s all Europe’s fault,” they knew what they were doing, and they were trying to get around the system - the system that is of course there because of concerns over dwindling fish stocks and over-fishing.

Had they been trying to use their (clearly) considerable influence to make a point about a problem with discards, I would applaud them. Had they been making a point about destructive fishing methods like beam-trawling being unacceptable (and they would know all about beam-trawlers), then I would have sympathy.

But the truth is, it was all about making money, and to hell with the environmental considerations. These are the real pirates of Penzance but there is nothing romantic about it.

This makes me very angry, and you should be too. They are over-fishing stocks that belong to all of us. This is your money. These are your fish.

There is also a huge amount of irony in Elizabeth Stevenson’s response that, “It’s not going to be easy to find this sum of money. It’s huge.”

  • Willie MacKenzie is part of Greenpeace’s Ocean Campaign. This blog post originally appeared on the Greenpeace UK website.