We thought it was about licences and territorial waters, but startling new evidence has emerged which puts our current dispute with the French over fishing rights into a cocked hat.
Whilst experts everywhere have been gazing skywards at CO2 emissions from the ground, it appears mankind has been adding to the mix through their reckless trawling of the ocean beds which is releasing nearly 1.5 giga-tonnes of carbon into the earth's atmosphere every year. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph takes up the story:
“It is roughly equal to the whole global aviation industry,” said Dr Trisha Atwood, a carbon specialist at Utah State University and one of the co-authors of a startling new report.
She said the science has taken a disturbing turn over the past decade. “The findings have blown people away. We’re discovering that a lot more underlying carbon is stored in the seabed than we thought.”
Marine sediments are the largest pool of organic carbon on the planet. They can remain settled for millenia. You stir them up at your peril.
The worst offender is China, but many European states are greater violators per capita. The satellite data shows that Danes are epic wreckers. Whatever CO2 brownie points they rack up for windmills, they lose many times over on ocean floor emissions.
The UK - or rather boats operating in its waters under the EU Common Fisheries Policy until this year - ranked fourth in the world for total emissions from this practice, behind Italy and Russia."
The warnings from marine conservationists are unequivocal and the implications for fishing worldwide are profound:
“Bottom trawling is an abusive smokestack industry, and we need to get rid of the whole thing,” says Charles Clover from the Blue Marine Foundation."
The issue comes at a particularly awkward time for Emmanuel Macron as he attempts to leverage the French fishing industry for his own political ends:
"The French media have let Macron get away with his misrepresentation of the issue, and let him weaponise French diplomacy for his own electoral purposes. The European Commission has been largely silent, beyond tepid pro-forma statements. It knows that Macron is technically and legally wrong on the terms of the TCA (Trade and Co-operation Agreement) fishing chapter but Brussels is in an awkward political position. So a false narrative across Europe has been allowed to fester."
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:
Fishermen sort scallops aboard a French fishing trawler in the English Channel