The day you all went to Strasbourg, and made history

Posted by Willie — 7 February 2013 at 10:49am - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace
"Victory for citizen power" said Roger Harriban, BBC, environment analyst

Where were you when you heard the news? I was sitting in a very chilly train station in Edinburgh, cursing a delayed train, unable to extricate myself from Twitter to go get a restorative coffee, when the news came through: Members of the European Parliament, those elected but often-maligned creatures, had voted overwhelmingly in favour of radical, progressive reform of Europe’s fish laws.

Facilitating a fair future for fishing

Posted by Willie — 19 November 2012 at 11:38am - Comments

This weekend, an unprecedented meeting took place in Brussels. At first glance it might not seem like much of a big deal - a bunch of fishermen from across Europe getting together in the EU capital . But this was different.

Why do Europe’s taxpayers fund overfishing overseas?

Posted by Willie — 10 July 2012 at 3:13pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
Dutch super trawler in West Africa

Q: What do you do when you run out of fish?

A: go catch someone else’s!

Cheeky perhaps, but that is the gist of what is referred to in European fishy politics circles as ‘The External Dimension’. Although it sounds like something from sci-fi, this is quite simply European fishing boats catching fish in non-European waters. Earlier this year I joined a Greenpeace ship in West Africa to see the scale of this first hand. It’s a pretty big deal, in every sense.

Recovery for Europe’s fisheries, or just wishful thinking?

Posted by Willie — 4 July 2012 at 11:51am - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: © David Sandison / Greenpeace

Basic first aid tells you the most important thing to do is not cause any more harm: don’t make things worse. That makes sense, of course, but if you happen upon someone lying bleeding on the pavement, simply not kicking them on the way past isn’t really a good enough reaction.

I’ve been struggling for analogies to use, ways to try and explain just what is so bad about the recent EU Council ‘agreement’ on fish stocks.

A good deal for our oceans, or does something smell fishy in Luxembourg?

Posted by Willie — 20 June 2012 at 11:30am - Comments
Cornwall Greenpeace group went to the Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival to campaign a
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace
Last weekend Cornwall Greenpeace group took our new campaign to the Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival

EU Council meetings – the epitome of fun. These are when representatives of each EU member state, usually the relevant government minister, get together to discuss issues of importance.  Last Monday - all day, and into the small hours, it was the turn of  the UK’s minister, Richard Benyon to get together with his 26 counterparts to discuss and agree a way forward on Common Fisheries Policy reform.

Make sure the fisheries minister delivers a fair deal on fish law reform

Posted by Willie — 11 June 2012 at 1:38pm - Comments
Plymouth world oceans day
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Be a fisherman's friend launch event at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth

Last Friday was World Oceans Day. Being an oceans campaigner that, on one hand, means a lot – but on the other it begs the question of why the rest of the world doesn’t think about oceans all the other days, like I do!?

Fixing fairness in fisheries starts at home

Posted by Willie — 30 March 2012 at 10:23am - Comments
Artisanal fishing boat 40 miles off the coast of Mauritania
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace / Pierre Gleizes
Artisanal fishing boat 40 miles off the coast of Mauritania

Approximately 1.5 MILLION small-scale fishermen live and work along the coast of West Africa. They live a life directly dependent on the seas on their doorstep. And it's not just them - their families and communities depend on it too, of course. Yet here in the seas off West Africa it's clear to see their interests are being ignored in favour of allowing massive, industrialised, factory fishing vessels to gobble up all the fish. Of course some of this is illicit, but much of it is legitimised plunder, such as the huge PFA vessels down here with EU subsidies and paid-for Fisheries Partnership Agreements

Flags, convenience and bending the rules to steal Africa’s fish

Posted by Willie — 26 March 2012 at 5:46pm - Comments
Greenpeace activists paint 'Plunder' on the side of a Lithuanian super trawler
All rights reserved. Credit: Pierre Gleizes / Greenpeace
Greenpeace activists paint 'Plunder' on the side of a Lithuanian super trawler

 We’re currently following a stern trawler as it fishes. It’s not the biggest vessel out here, but, like many others it is fishing up and down where the shallow continental shelf meets deeper waters. That there is fish in these waters there is no doubt, and proved by the birds, whales and dolphins we encounter here, as well as the fishing vessels.

What is the UK’s biggest fishing boat doing in West African seas?

Posted by Willie — 23 March 2012 at 2:04pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Willie MacKenzie / Greenpeace
UK registered supertrawler Cornelis Vrolijk fishing off Mauritania

I’m out in the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere off Mauritania in West Africa, aboard the Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise. We’re here to document and expose the shocking overfishing of Africa’s coastal seas by huge fishing vessels from the EU and elsewhere.

UK minister Benyon flexing his political muscles in Brussels

Posted by Willie — 16 March 2012 at 5:30pm - Comments
Abdou, Issa, John Sauven, Willie Bain and Celestino discuss DEFRA policy
All rights reserved. Credit: © Greenpeace
Last year Richard Benyon met with Greenpeace and a delegation of West African fishermen

EU council meetings are rarely something that the vast majority of us get excited about. These meetings are when the representatives from each of the EU governments get together, to discuss specific topics. Usually it’s the relevant minister who goes, but they are effectively deputising for their government.

About Willie

Hi, I'm Willie, I work with Greenpeace on all things ocean-related

Twitter: @williemackenzie

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