Fisheries White Paper
The Government published the White Paper, Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations, on 4th July, outlining what might replace the Common Fisheries Policy when the UK leaves the EU. Secretary of State at Defra, Michael Gove, claimed that legislation will give the UK ‘full control of its waters and the ability to set fishing opportunities such as quotas’. It is suggested that only 9% of cod caught in the English Channel is landed by British boats. By UN Charter, every country is entitled to 200 miles of territorial waters but it is not clear what happens when they overlap. I suspect that negotiations with the EU on fisheries might be every bit as difficult as other aspects of Brexit.
For many in the UK, June was the driest and warmest on record, even eclipsing that of 1976 when most farmers had gathered their meagre harvest by the end of July. However, those with long memories are comparing this hot dry summer with that of 1947 which was followed by a particularly cold and snowy winter. This heatwave, which forecasters suggest will last throughout July and perhaps August too, is affecting the entire northern hemisphere, including Asia and North America. Grain markets are volatile with fears of a drought hit harvest pushing prices upwards but Brexit and Trump’s threatened trade war dampening expectations.
Amidst the tragedy of wild fires such as that on Saddleworth Moor, there have been those using it to peddle their own views. Although it appears that fires may have been started deliberately, gamekeepers on grouse moors have been blamed for the conflagration. The truth is that rotational controlled burning of heather as practiced on many grouse moors helps to prevent wild fires as it encourages new growth which provides excellent wildlife habitat and is far less combustible than the old woody heather. Some suggest that rewilding is the answer, ignoring the fact that scrub and trees are equally vulnerable to wild fires. The worst situation is where the underlying peat is set alight as it is extremely difficult to put out and may burn for months, belching carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If weather forecasts are right, there may well be many more to come.
Species Face Extinction
Many thousands of species across the world face extinction according to the latest report compiled by IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The Red List of threatened species now has 93,577 species recorded of which 26,197 are classified as vulnerable, critical or endangered. Scientists have warned that this is a sixth wave of exceptional extinctions and poses a greater threat to the future of our planet even than climate change.