In an open letter to fisheries minister Victoria Prentis and her colleagues at DEFRA, South-West FP chief executive Jim Portus has questioned the value of a dialogue with the UK authorities, since they appear to be complicit in failing to act when presented with clear lawbreaking.
‘The Captain of the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza, dumped large boulders illegally on the seabed off Brighton. This follows earlier action on the Dogger Bank,’ Jim Portus wrote to the Minister.
‘This action was witnessed, but not prevented, by the fisheries protection assets under the control of the MMO,’ he said, adding that there has also been no action taken in response to previous similar stunts on the Dogger Bank.
‘The boulders are a hazard to the lawful operations of UK and EU fishing vessels. You have a duty to protect the fishing industry from such hostile activities. Your lack of action against Greenpeace is seen as dereliction. Greenpeace 1, fishing industry nil!’
He commented that there appears little point in the industry engaging with officials in any form of co-management when they see what looks to be evident support for eNGOs that take the law into their own hands.
‘We have a meeting with your officials and those from the devolved administrations on Monday 1st March. The point of that meeting is being questioned. It is our hope that we receive by then a powerful signal that you wish for the success of meaningful dialogue that leads to the establishment of sustainable fisheries management plans that are not only created as a genuine partnership but are also intended to enable the fishing industry to prosper,’ Jim Portus said in the industry’s open letter to the Minister and DEFRA.
‘It is my hope that withdrawal from such dialogue can be averted. look forward to your response to Greenpeace.’
Greenpeace vessel Esperanza dumping rocks on the Dogger Bank in 2020. Image: Greenpeace