Two bodies of European diplomacy have squared off over proposed regulations on the fishing industry. Ministers of The European Parliament have been rebuffed by their legislative counterparts The Council of the European Union, the latter attempting to neuter a newly ratified ban on the practice of fish discards.
An overwhelming majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEP) voted in February to immediately end the dumping of viable catches at sea. National ministers who make up The Council are calling for a staggered implementation of the ban taking place between 2014 and 2017 depending on the species in question, as well as permanently allowing up to 7% of any given catch to be dumped as accidental by-catches.
Dumping perfectly good fish has been the fishing industry’s way around existing quotas on particular species. Ships laden with lower-priced catches routinely toss unwanted breeds to make way for more lucrative catches as they prepare to pull into harbor. Few fish can survive the trauma of being caught, stored and released, resulting in tons of carcasses wasted on the sea floor. Activists and scientists condemn the practice which has contributed to the depletion of fish stocks around the world. More than 1 million tons are discarded by European fleets annually. The European Commission estimates that 23% of all catches are tossed overboard while activists place that figure at closer to 40%.
The Council is pushing for the gradual implementation of the discard ban on cash stocks such as cod and haddock but conservationists worry that delaying action will jeopardize already suffering species.
The ban has been savaged by various levels of bureaucracy for over two years before February’s passage. More than five hundred MEPs backed the ban with less than 140 holding out. The vote also reconfigures the methodology behind setting quotas and establishing scientifically formulated maximum sustainable yields.
Northern European nations generally support the ban while southern states are fighting for looser restrictions. France and Spain in particular are hostile to infringement against their industries. Spain is host to the EU’s largest fishing fleet and receives the lion’s share of EU subsidies.
MEPs are currently holding the 2014-2020 budget for the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) hostage to force The Council to relinquish hopes of diluting the discards ban, drop its call for the 7% permanent dumping allowance and to accept rules for the remediation of endangered fish stocks by 2020. Pressure is alleviated by the fact that if no agreement on the budget is reached by the end of the year temporary budgets will keep the body afloat.
The CFP is a well-intentioned but largely toothless association first devised as a forum for territorial water disputes in lieu of outright warfare. The CFP originally called for a ban on discards in 2008. The organization was also responsible for crafting the now controversial quota system initially based upon member states’ historical catches, not on the ability of fish stock to reproduce. Although recognized as the forum for European fishing practices the group will have little ability to police its implementation. Enforcement of promulgated agreements is left to regional councils—the CFP has no authority to investigate trickery or corruption. Its sole legislative ability beyond closing waters where fishing quotas have been met is to bring proceedings against errant states before the European Court of Justice. In 2005 the court famously fined France €20m for turning a blind eye to undersized hake being brought to port.
Historically member states have been hostile to the CFP’s attempts to shrink fleet sizes, restrict destructive fishing methods and to introduce scientific observation and projections to the system of setting catch quotas. Unregulated shipments of fish continue to enter European ports and find their way to dinner plates across the continent. Unless both European legislators and member states can come to terms little stands in the way of EU waters mirroring the dead zone of Newfoundland’s Grand Banks.
Photo by Lionel Flageul for The Common Fisheries Policy.
Background on the Common Fisheries Policy can be downloaded from The European Commission website here.
Spring, that little coquette, has been flirting with us. An hour’s worth of sun lures you outside but the clouds are quick behind and then you’ve got hail in your pockets. There’s cherry blossoms and baby birds chirping in the leaves. They’ll litter the ground when the next cold snap hits—we’re not out of this thing yet.
Everyone knows better but after months of being cooped up complaining about the cold and the grey no one can control themselves. Throw on some shoes, some useless thin scarf, tuck the lapdog into an old sweatshirt and go, go, go!
Our brains haven’t caught up, or maybe our brains have a better grasp on the situation than our impulses and refuse to be roused for these midday walks. A woman was dragging a baby carriage into the street while trying to guide a freewheeling toddler from corner to corner. There was a car waiting for this confused tangle to clear, allowing plenty of room for the trickeries of gravity or the momentum of plastic wheels. The woman stopped and began to wave the driver on, who wasn’t really sure how to respond. Babies in the street, not taking my foot off the brakes. But the woman kept waving and waving and finally the driver decided to inch forward, hugging the opposite curb. The woman threw her arm out to stop the car, which somehow managed to screech to a halt while rolling forward. After some confusion a window was lowered. “I was wondering if you have any napkins,” the woman asked. Read more…
Baba has it all figured out. Her cremated remains will join Jiji’s and their mingling ashes will be divided between two desktop sphinxes formerly filled with cheap whiskey and presented to my grandfather for being a damn fine Mason. There’s already fake gold nameplates glued to the bases, no muss no fuss. My mom would get one, Lindy will get one, and Sugie… Well, Sugie didn’t make it to the family Christmas gathering this year so she’s shit out of luck.
Not everyone has their final resting place sorted out, but this is America and we’re a nation of innovative entrepreneurs. Convenient Pre-Purchase is a company that specializes in mail-order burial real estate, except when they’re specializing in ‘Pre-Pruchase’ as stated in the introductory paragraph of the letter. Which immediately follows my landlord’s misspelled name.
What locations! Convenient Pre-Purchase is partnered with over 250 franchise boneyards across half of the country. Gleaming mausoleum or eternal rest beneath a row of maples? Ordering your space today avoids the cost of inflation tomorrow and spares your idiot children from overspending to compensate for taking advantage of you their entire ungrateful lives. Everyone is pre-approved for a payment plan and you’ll never have to meet with a cemetery representative, unless you choose to. Twelve months of interest free financing will get the ball rolling. Perpetual Care Grounds Maintenance! Happy families beam at the camera, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be forced to make difficult decisions when Granny kicks the bucket.
‘If you are prepared in advance, you are not at the mercy of strangers during a difficult period in your life’ says Wendy B. from beyond the grave!
There’s checkboxes for veterans and folks who have family planted in the local grounds—no mention of a discount but no harm in asking. Unfortunately they don’t offer a 30-Day money-back guarantee (mail back the unused portion of your grave and keep the digital egg-beater as our gift to you), just their absolutely no obligation, free Cemetery Space Pre-Planning Information Kit.
We sincerely apologize if this mailing has come during a time of bereavement. Read more…
Plastic bag in hand, ready for any bilious torrent produced by the next round of respiratory fits. I couldn’t tell if her moaning was due to the racking cough which shook the two chairs she had pushed together to make a bed or to the moonshoe protecting her tibia from trauma. Please don’t puke, please don’t put me in a situation where I’ll have to decide whether it’s more polite to pretend I haven’t noticed or to find some way of fetching water. The self-service malady station offered tissues and barf bags and hygienic hand gel but no cups. I should spray my neighbor down with the provided antiseptic.
I never would have taken the seat, alone against the wall of an examination room, had I know the woman was retching. She waited for the raging drunk falling out of a wheelchair to lurch after a pregnant woman and her young daughter, leaving the sanitation kiosk unguarded. The drunk’s sudden departure alarmed reception and a stray nurse who debated going after him until they became distracted by the viscous black fluid he had left to seep through his former seat and onto the floor. A call to maintenance was interrupted by a girl in pajamas who was angry at having her pathetic groans ignored. Yes, you’ll be seen after the gaping head wound who swears he’s not drunk but can’t remember his name, the guy with chest pains, the woman who can’t walk on her own, the five or six people who sleep here when it’s too cold and wet on the street.
These people aren’t sick, the triage doctor told me after I waved away her apologies for the wait, they just think they are. Her bitterness clashed with the spunky hair and Chuck Taylors, and with her adoration of the little girl who had hit the panic button. A SWAT team burst into the lobby all body armor and light weaponry, peering through windows and signaling each other across the room. Little girls are cuties. I’m tired of telling the staff I’m not a junkie. Read more…
Federal agents are fighting the greatest scourge since Bolsheviks infiltrated washrooms across America. Throughout the nation teams of local police and the FBI—Joint Terrorism Task Forces—are scrutinizing security footage and wiretaps while prosecutors issue grand jury subpoenas.
On December 26th, 2012, Matthew Pfeiffer reported for imprisonment to Seattle’s Federal Detention Center. He joins Katherine Olejnik and Matthew Duran, held in contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating anarchist collectives in the Pacific Northwest. The price of silence, for not offering circumstantial evidence against photographs and names presented during closed sessions without judge or legal representation, can amount to continued incarceration until March of 2014 when the grand jury dissolves.
None are charged with any further crime. None are suspected of wrongdoing. The US attorney in charge admits that this imprisonment is a form of coercion to compel testimony. Read more…
Concrete hides under an earthen shroud behind the bulldozed clearing. A couple years ago kids were squirming through ventilation shafts and roaming the murk of a by-gone era, but we were late to the party and could only poke sticks at the slab laid over the escape hatch.
Cold War paranoia gave birth to the Kelley Butte Civil Defense Center, first installation of its kind on these shores. At any moment Russian planes could cross the arctic and unleash a holocaust, so the people pitched in to build a subterranean city hall stocked with rations, generators and showers safe from the blast winds of a nuclear attack. Portland organized and conducted Operation Green Light, a mass evacuation exercise which cleared downtown of a hundred thousand souls within an hour. The citizenry believed that if the mayor, city council, the police and emergency services continued functioning behind 26 inches of concrete then they could survive anything.
As the arms race raged on faith was lost. Russia and America amassed enough armaments to ensure that the human race would be eradicated a hundred times over if either side reached for the button. In 1963 the city council suspended funding for local Civil Defense and slowly the Kelley Butte facility was dismantled. Police used the site for training and an emergency communication center until Kelley Butte closed in the early 90′s when a new downtown 911 office opened. No one had any use for the 18,000 square foot relic. The radio antenna is gone. One hundred years worth of public records imprinted on microfilm is gone. The threat of annihilation is gone. All that remains is the frustrated graffiti of kids and walls leading nowhere.
The mayor will never run to Kelley Butte for cover, but others seek the sanctity of its trees and isolation. The couple sitting at the top of a terraced wall were either stoned or residents of one of the encampments scattered throughout the park. Pete employed his foreign accent and natural charisma while I slipped and tumbled down a hillside following drainage ditches and trash. In a joint where man and nature had called a truce someone had carefully cleared the land and transplanted shrubs. Stones were laid to define paths and a hedge of weeds had been sculpted to distinguish a garden from its surrounding wilderness. Domesticity pried from the clutches of someone’s lost dreams. In its own way Kelley Butte remains a refuge for people who have lost faith in the surrounding world.
* * *
Blissed-out New Age Christian women wearing matching white t-shirts had occupied the Bryant Street overpass, holding paper signs of goodwill against the chainlink suicide barrier. Primary colors screamed Be Happy!, eliciting one lonely horn from the snarled parking lot of I-5 a smashed skull below. Their kids had called it a day and were splayed out across my path assaulting coloring books. They don’t teach law and order or lines or awareness of others at home school. I hopped off my bike to walk it.
This sect of hugs not drugs fouling my path was overseen by a solitary male, also in a matching white t-shirt but clearly not drinking the same Kool-Aid as everyone else. He paced across the narrow caged walkway screaming over the phone at fellow Be Happy! ambassadors who had failed to arrive. Spreading cheer and goodwill is serious business.
On the far side of the causeway a white van was parked, vandalized with construction paper shapes and Love Life scrawled across the side in bouncy lettering. I checked the bumper for anti-abortion stickers or other religious hatred. Nothing. Nothing inside but Cheerios and cookie crumbs and the dazed air of people who feel good for a living. I wanted to be annoyed and offended. Read more…