The NFFO has written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, following recent comments he made to school children and broadcast on Twitter

The NFFO has written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, following recent comments he made to school children

The NFFO has written to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, following recent comments he made to school children and broadcast on Twitter.

The clip can be views here and the accompanying letter is below.

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Dear Prime Minister

Dredging

It was disturbing to hear you (when recently answering children’s questions on dredging as a method of fishing) to rely on arguments that have the most tenuous links to the truth.

Demonising one method of fishing in this way does not help us find and follow the pathway to sustainable fishing whilst also making a major contribution to

global and national food security. Locating the pathway to sustainability generally involves complex trade-offs which are not helped by this sort of intervention.

In fact, dredging for scallops generally takes place on tightly defined sand substrates where the impact of the gear is minimal. Likewise, your reference to

dredging as a source of “blue carbon” is misplaced as the following articles make clear.

These are the scientific issues derived from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00143/full

  • The Nature paper was based on modelling using many assumptions that lack an empirical basis in science.
  • There are several opposing processes involved in carbon transfer generated from trawl disturbance and the net effect of these is presently highly uncertain.
  • Carbon flux from seabed to water column and carbon remineralisation in the water column have to be balanced against nutrient release that stimulates primary production and carbon redeposition onto the seabed.
  • Similarly changes in seabed fauna have both positive and negative effects on net carbon contained in sediments.
  • The existing circumstances of where fishing take place are also important given that in shallow seas seabed sediments are already naturally disturbed by currents and wave action

Thankfully, your own legislation, in the form of the Fisheries Act 2020 requires ministers to manage fisheries and the marine environment on the basis of evidence, rather than hearsay. It would be helpful, however, if when inclined to make similar observations in the future you could bear the above in mind.

Yours sincerely

Barrie Deas

Chief Executive

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NFFO writes letter to the Prime Minister over comments to school children

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