Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker—Fishing ‘codfathers’ make an offer that can’t be refused

Issue No. 2626

Smaller vessels are losing out in the quota wars

Smaller vessels are losing out in the quota wars (Pic: Peter Pearson/Flickr)


Five of Britain’s wealthiest families control more than a quarter of the country’s fishing quotas.

Concentrating ownership of the lucrative quotas in such a small number of companies is helping to destroy the livelihoods of thousands of smaller-scale fisherfolk excluded from the system, according to Greenpeace.

In Scotland the families include the Taits, who control the Fraserburgh-based Klondyke Fishing Company, the Buchans, who run the Peterhead-based Lunar Fishing and the Woods, who run JW Holdings in Aberdeen.

Greenpeace investigated the ownership and distribution of fishing quotas.

The investigation, using records from Companies House, found that 29 percent of the fishing quota was controlled by five families on the Sunday Times Rich List, including three in Scotland.

Quotas are a means by which governments regulate the industry under the EU’s common fisheries policy.

These can be bought, sold and leased, leading to claims that big companies are ­snapping up ever-larger shares.

Will McCallum, head of Oceans at Greenpeace, said, “This sell-off of British waters by our own government is a national disgrace and an ­economic, social and ­environmental tragedy.”

He said that successive governments had destroyed livelihoods, encouraging unsustainable fishing, and allowed “a wealthy cabal of fishing barons to become ‘codfathers’.”

The Scottish families identified include Alexander Buchan and family, whose estimated net worth is £147 million. Their Lunar Fishing Company controls 8.9 percent of the quota.

Klondyke Fishing Company, owned by Robert Tait and family (worth £115 million) holds 6.1 percent of the total, and JW Holdings, owned by Sir Ian Wood and family (worth £1.7 billion), holds 1 percent.

Hundreds of vessels shorter than ten metres—around three quarters of the fishing fleet—were not required to record their catches in the 1990s.

They therefore missed out on a fair share of fishing rights.

These smaller enterprises are going out of business because they only have access to 4 percent of the current total quota.


Opposing the price of wine is sour grapes

A French wine has fetched the highest price for a single bottle, more than doubling the record.

The 1945 Romanée-Conti, considered to be the best burgundy, sold for £424,000—17 times its upper estimate—at Sotheby’s in New York on Saturday.

A few minutes later another 1945 Romanée-Conti sold for £377,000.

The previous record for a standard wine bottle was £177,164, paid for an 1869 Château Lafite Rothschild in 2010.

In another record?breaking sale at the auction, A bottle of Macallan 1926 whisky sold for £641,000, the highest price Sotheby’s has achieved for a single spirit.

However, it was well short of the world record £848,750 for a bottle of 1926 Macallan Valerio Adami paid this month at Bonhams.


Gold credit card for those making a mint

The Royal Mint is said to be developing a gold credit card for those who want to add weight to their wallets.

The cards, made of 18 carat gold, will work in cash machines and at contactless card readers.

The card itself will cost about £3,000. The signatures of owners will be engraved on the back.

Mastercard is handling the technology to process payments. The cards have already been offered to multimillionaires.

  • Tory Andrew Kennedy recalls working for Andrea Leadsom’s short-lived leadership campaign. Its base was in the same house used by John Major campaign in 1995.

“When Major was here,” the hostess explained one lunchtime, “Viscount Cranborne would send round a Fortnum’s hamper, delivered in his Rolls Royce by two liveried footmen.”

Team Leadsom sent out for sandwiches.


  • Tory MP Johnny Mercer has landed a second job at a cyber-security firm earning £85,000 a year for working 20 hours a month. So while being an MP and paid £77,379 plus expenses, he’s still able to fit in another job, on more money.

Handily the long summer recess, which began on 20 July and only ended last Tuesday, helps no end.

  • Downing Street police don’t only climb into body armour, attach handcuffs, strap 9mm Glock 17 sidearms on and tool up with Heckler & Koch G36C submachine guns.

They carry pet treats— Dreamies apparently for Larry, the Number 10 cat.


Cop trades on Holocaust

Pc Matt Hart, of Northamptonshire Police, sold barbed wire and items described as “fence insulators” as Auschwitz memorabilia.

The items have now been withdrawn from sale and the eBay account is believed to be closed.

His force said it was satisfied no offences had been committed.

A cop said, “We can confirm the officer had previously declared a business interest in line with force policy but, following questioning, it was determined that no actual legal wrongdoing had taken place.”


Millions lost by the military

TOP brass in the Ministry of Defence wrote off almost £200 million last year. That included £4.7 million for a crashed submarine.

Costs of repairs on HMS Ambush were allowed to more than double after it hit a tanker off Gibraltar.

And £1 million of equipment could not be accounted for after a major refit of nuclear sub HMS Triumph.

Ration packs worth £363,000 were ditched after changes in plans meant they would not be used before their expiry date.


Cop accused of hitting student to face hearing

The City of London police force has failed in an attempt to block disciplinary action against a cop who was accused of beating a student over the head.

Its lawyers’ attempted to persuade a judge that the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) had overstepped its role when it forced proceedings against PC Mark Alston, who is accused of using excessive force against Alfie Meadows in 2010.

Meadows needed surgery to save his life. He was cleared of violent disorder at the demonstration.

Lawyers for the City of London police argued that the case had no merit, and that the IOPC was “undermining public confidence in the police.”

The judges ruled against them and a hearing must take place.


‘Something’s changing and it’ll change back again’

US President Donald Trump now accepts climate change— sort of

‘As soon as the wedding finished it was like it never happened. We had people in here who didn’t know who Princess Eugenie is’

A Windsor fudgemaker on the royal wedding last week

‘They should pay for their own wedding’

Windsor rough sleeper Sunny Kumar

‘Absolute curse on the earth, leaving that school with a sense of entitlement and over?educated cultural posturing’

Author John Le Carre, who taught at Eton in the 1950s, on the quality of the students


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The Troublemaker
Tue 16 Oct 2018, 10:13 BST
Issue No. 2626
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