WITH FLOATING HEAPS OF PLASTIC CHOKING the world's oceans and fishermen chaffing at new regulations meant to protect dwindling European fish stocks, a top EU official has proposed a clever idea that may help address both problems: Pay fishermen to catch plastic trash, rather than fish. EU fisheries chief Maria Damanaki has been under fire for the European Commission's plan to ban discards of edible fish. The practice is no small problem, The Guardian wrote this week:
Two-thirds of the fish caught in some areas is thrown back, usually dead, because fleets exceed their quota, unintentionally catch juveniles or species for which they lack a quota, or because they prioritize higher-value fish and throw away lesser species. About 1 million tons are thrown back each year in the North Sea alone.
Instead of caving in to the fishing-industry pressure on the issue, Damanaki has vowed to move forward with the discards bansaying "time is running out" to make "radical reform"while offering fishermen an alternative source of income. Under a trial project to start in the Mediterranean this month, fishermen will be equipped with special "nets to round up the plastic detritus that is threatening marine life, and send it for recycling," The Guardian wrote. The EU will initially subsidize the initiative, but the hope is that it could eventually become self-sustaining as fishermen make more money from the recycling itself.
It may be a step down in one's own personal psyche, to go from food supplier to garbage collector, but if it needs to be done, somebody's got to do it, and impoverished fisherman should step to the task, and get 'er done for decent wages, of course. Oops, that's government nee the people's money, but I've always said littering is one of the first signs of a dangerous personality though probably the most preventable of sins an individual can make.