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Issue No:64
  • :0973-1121
  • :March
  • :2013


The water shone pacifically; the sky, without a speck, was a benign immensity of unstained light; the very mist on the Essex marsh was like a gauzy and radiant fabric, hung from the wooded rises inland, and draping the low shores in diaphanous folds. Only the gloom to the west, brooding over the upper reaches, became more sombre every minute, as if angered by the approach of the sun.

­­— from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad



At a Crossroads

The integration of England's small-scale fisheries within a national quota management system could well spell disaster

This article is by David Symes (, Reader Emeritus, University of Hull, UK

An intermittent war of words is being waged in the columns of the well-respected journal, Fishing News, over the future governance of small-scale fisheries in England. The arguments initially set small-scale against large-scale fishing interests but have more recently exposed divisions within the small-scale sector over the representation of their interests and appropriate courses of action in defending their increasingly vulnerable status. This is symptomatic of the mounting pressures on small-scale fisheries and a growing nervousness over an uncertain future, especially when confronted by a government intent on simplifying complex issues and seeking to impose economically rational solutions. It is a situation found widely in Europe today.

The current disputes were sparked off by a decision of the United Kingdom (UK) fisheries minister to accede to pressures from within the small-scale sector for additional fishing opportunities. In 2011 he proposed transferring three per cent of the quota presently allocated to over 10 m vessels...

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