Long-time readers will remember the saga of the ‘fish paper’ – my research piece on the sustainability and legality of European Union fisheries policy in West Africa, eventually published in the MIT International Review.
Fisheries being an area of acute concern for me, I was gratified to see an unusually hard-hitting column in this week’s Economist about fish and the EU. It argues that EU goverments have shown “abject cowardice” in relation to their fishers for years. Meanwhile, overcapacity and unsustainable quotas have put the industry into a “suicidal spiral.” The article reports straightforwardly that: “More subsidies would reduce the already slim chance that Europe will ever have a sustainable fishing industry.”
I have argued previously that fishing should never be subsidized. There are far too many dangers of people selfishly exploiting a common good even without them. Indeed, I don’t have much hope when it comes to the long-term viability of world fisheries. That being said, if more people develop the understanding and candour displayed in this article, perhaps the madness can eventually be brought to heel.