LAST FISH SUPPER IN SOUTHPORT?
disappear from the table unless more fishermen are forced off the
seas, a Southport Euro-MP has warned.
The European Commission says that 88% of fish stocks in EU waters
are being exploited beyond their rate of recovery. But EU
Fisheries Ministers meeting in Brussels this week are discussing
measures to support the fishing industry and protect it from the
current increase in fuel prices. Some of the money is to be
used to support a significant decommissioning of vessels but the
meeting is likely to discuss payments to crews stranded by the fuel
crisis so they can stay in business and start fishing again when oil
Euro-MP Chris Davies describes such support as ‘short-sighted
madness’ and is urging Ministers to put the long-term survival
of fish before the profits of fishermen.
He said:- “Deep sea vessels will suffer most in the current
fuel crisis. They travel longer distances in huge vessels to hoover
fish to the brink of mass extinction. We should allow a free
market to operate and the last thing we need are subsidies to wipe
out our dwindling fish stocks.”
Mr Davies, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman in the
European Parliament, claims that current fishing practices are a ‘disaster’
tolerated only because their effects cannot be seen beneath the
He said:- “Governments across Europe are still hell-bent on
fishing to the point of extinction despite every warning that comes
from scientists in Brussels. The irony is that if we allow
fish stocks time to recover, and then use them more sensibly, we
will be able to catch more fish than we do now and there will be
more jobs for fishermen.”
Poor pay is threatening public services
refusal by local government employers to negotiate a better pay
settlement for council workers could threaten the future of public
services, leading officials at UNISON have warned.
Research shows there are still many occupations where local
authorities struggle to recruit and retain suitably skilled staff,
and UNISON says this will only get worse unless pay improves.
The top 10 skills shortages include jobs in social work and social
care, environmental health, planning, building control, trading
standards, school crossing patrol and building surveying.
UNISON’s North West Regional Secretary Frank Hont said local
government workers were the lowest paid in the public sector, and
the more their pay falls behind the more difficult it will be to
recruit. This will also impact on the highly trained employees
already delivering these services, and on local residents and
communities who rely on them.
Mr Hont said:- “UNISON represents local government workers at
all levels and we know from the feed-back we are receiving in the
run-up to next week’s strike that members have had enough.
Some on the lowest pay feel it is degrading to have to rely on
working tax credits to bring their wages up to a level deemed
sufficient to live on. Those at a more senior level are becoming
increasingly fed-up of having to cover for vacancies and meet
efficiency targets at the same time as facing what is effectively a
We have a duty to negotiate a decent standard of living for all
local government workers to maintain this level of expertise and
defend public services. Local government pay also often sets
the standard in the voluntary sector and reports out today show the
voluntary sector makes up a far larger part of the economy than