Tuesday, 9 November 2010

is mackerel at risk?

On Countryfile this Sunday there was a report about mackerel stocks. Mackerel stocks in Europe had been maintained sensibly but it seems all that is about to change. Mackerel could go the way of cod, with numbers becoming depleted. Fishermen from the Faroes and also Iceland intend to catch many more. This would be a great tragedy. Fish, especially oily fish like mackerel, are a wonderful nutritional resource. It really would be killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

This isn't just about fishermen's jobs, or about fishing communities, or even about national income. It would be a crime if in the long term fewer of these protein and omega-3 rich fish were available to humanity. There will be many more mouths to feed in the future.

I saw Elliot Morley on TV recently. He got into trouble recently over expenses and has tried to use parliamentary privilege to avoid standing trial. I remembed Elliot Morley from when he was fisheries minister years go. Someone asked him if it would not be a good idea to protect fish stocks to stop them from becoming depleted. He said it was a circular argument, because if you protected fish stocks it might protect the jobs of fishermen in the future but then again it would mean job losses now.

It's not a 'circular argument'. It's a question of short-term interests versus long-term interests. We should always do what's best for the long term. That's why we invest in the future. Even then that's only looking at it from the point of view of fishermen's jobs. Food security is a much more important issue.

I always think of Elliot Morley when people say that we need to pay MPs lots of money so that we can attract the best people. The idea is that high-flyers are the most intelligent and we need them to get the job done. However, people like him don't really understand the arguments. They're not activists, they don't have ideals. They seem to think their job is to balance the demands of different interest groups. We need people who really believe in something in Parliament. High-fliers are a waste of time, whether it's in Parliament or in the City.

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