Conservation - two sides of the problem.

A modern fishing boat is a very efficient vessel indeed on this creates a major problem, in that fishing fleets now have the power to remove far more fish from the sea and can be replaced by natural means. Stocks virtually all popular fish have now been overfished so it is absolutely essential to put conservation measures in place; the problem is that no one country can do this alone and so international agreement is vital if we are not a put future stocks of this essential resource at risk.

This is a wonderful idea in theory, but in fact we have to bear in mind the fact that the livelihoods of an awful lot of people throughout Europe depend upon the fishing industry, and they are not likely to take any cuts lying down, in fact there frequent incidences of civil disobedience to protest against measures which are throwing fishermen out of work. One of the problems is that governments, not unnaturally, are often obliged to listen to the protests of their own countrymen and circumventing the rules for political reasons is not in the least bit unknown in Europe. However the simple fact is that European waters are far more depleted than those in the rest of the world and a huge proportion of fish in this region cart before the able to spawn, which is the increased their numbers dramatically. Against that, major fishing nations like France (where industrial action against cuts is commonplace), Spain, Britain, Italy and Greece would be badly affected economically by any increase in conservation efforts, although it has to be borne in mind that being a fisherman is not a terribly profitable enterprise even at the best of times.

The problem is exacerbated by illegal fishing, and the landing of undersized fish, which many people have been tempted to do in order to bolster their poor incomes.

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