Last night we had to turn the ship around because we were heading into some seriously bad weather (you know it's bad when even the captain says so). But I think everyone has gotten both of their sea legs working by now because even though the ship was rolling more today and we have had shelves, doors, and dishes broken, everyone seemed less affected than yesterday. We are now anchored closer to land and are, together with a small fleet of freighters and oil tankers all around us, waiting for calmer seas.
Since we are safely anchored this is an excellent opportunity to give you a little more detailed background to why we are out here. I have been talking to Hanne who is our marine biologist and cod expert onboard and she gave me some pretty scary facts, especially about the dire situation for the North Sea cod:
"Cod was once found in vast numbers in North Sea. This is no longer the case and the stock is now in danger of collapsing. The stock is beyond safe biological limits and since 2003 the EU's own scientific advisers have recommended that the Fisheries Ministers implement zero quotas for cod to give the stocks some chance of recovery.
"But listening to scientific advice is not what the European ministers do the best, and they continue to allocate quotas. They have known for years where the cod stock in the North Sea was heading - collapse - and still they did not act. The current terrible state of the cod stock is what their "management" has lead us to!
"And the industry is just as bad as the politicians, they are just as aware of the situation but continue to buy fish from depleted stocks and unsustainable fisheries and sell it to consumers all over Europe. What is happening to the cod is symptomatic of the wider oceans crisis, and the lack of any political will to manage the ocean properly".
So what is the solution? "What is needed is not only a smaller European fishing fleet, we need to start the rebuilding of the entire ecosystem, to make the fish stocks and the habitats healthy again - and for that we need marine reserves".