The ecosystem of the English Channel has been transformed by fishing, report shows







A new report (10th July 2014) shows that many fish species, especially those at the top of the food chain, are faring badly in the English Channel.

The report’s authors say that this is evidence of “fishing down the food chain”. Since the 1940s, commonly-landed fish like spurdog, cod, and ling have come to be replaced in fishermens’ nets by fish such as small spotted catsharks, and shellfish such as scallops, crabs and lobster.

The authors recommend a network of fisheries closures to help get the ecosystem back on the path to recovery.

Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, MCS senior biodiversity policy officer, says “This report adds evidence to what we have known for a number of years now – that the huge efforts of fishing boats from many nations are continuing to fish down the food chain in the English Channel – and elsewhere. We really need governments to take on board the urgent need to better protect our seas”.

Dr Solandt continues “There isn’t one square kilometre of the English Channel that is protected from all forms of fishing. Recently the government has applied pressure to stop destructive fishing in protected areas where reefs exist in the English Channel. This demonstrates that recovery is possible if areas are closed to damaging fishing gear.”

Overfishing and the Replacement of Demersal Finfish by Shellfish: An Example from the English Channel Molfese C,  Beare D,  Hall-Spencer JM  (2014)  PLoS ONE 9(7): e101506. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101506 Read the report at

A number of Channel sites are timetabled for consultation as “Marine conservation Zones” in Spring 2015. MCS will be keeping up the pressure on Government to designate these sites, and will be seeking your support nearer the time.

For more information visit the Marine Conservation Society


Food, Fisheries and Tourism: New Opportunities for Sustainable Development 23rd and 24th June @ St Mary in the Castle, Hastings

fishing photo

23rd and 24th June 


St Mary in the Castle, Hastings


Don’t forget to register for this two day event on the 23rd and 24th June which will focus on how the agro-food, fisheries and responsible tourism can work together to deliver new opportunities for sustainable development along the coast and in the towns and countryside in the 2 seas area.

Are you a producer (farmer or fisher), tourism professional provider, a planner or an educationalist? Would you like to learn more about new opportunists for sustainable development by bringing together food, fisheries and responsible tourism? would you like to share your experiences and ideas with other who could work with you to develop a sustainable future for all three sectors?

If so don’t miss this opportunity to join us

Places are limited so don’t miss your chance to come to the event

Register free at

For more information please contact;

TourFish Commincations Team
University of Greenwich
Tel: (0) 20 8331 7688


Tourfish logo

GMI Interviews Women in the Fishing Industry

Researchers from the Greenwich Maritime Institute, Dr Minghua Zhao and Esther Copete, spent two weeks in Belgium and the Netherlands during August 2012, conducting fieldwork which investigates women’s role and contribution to fisheries in the EU. The research is part of a three-year, €4.6 million project, Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability (GIFS), funded by Interreg Iva 2 Seas.

During the fieldwork the researchers had the opportunity to meet the president of the Women in Fisheries Network in the Netherlands who spoke about their activities and their concerns about the industry’s future.

More than 20 interviews were conducted in selected fishing communities in the two countries. In Breskens the team had the opportunity to interview three fisher wives who spoke about their lives and answered questions related to the components of social cohesion. They expressed their views on the women’s roles in their communities and their main concerns regarding their husbands’ jobs, providing the researchers with an insight into the community’s views of the fishing sector.

The researchers also had the opportunity to interview the female Sales Manager of a Breskens-based company supplying fish to wholesalers and retailers across Europe. They also met and talked to the only local fisherwoman in the history of Breskens and her family members who have continued with the business.

The School of Fishing is located in Vlissingen and several students were interviewed as well as their partners. This provided the team with an idea of the younger generation’s view of and level of confidence in the sector.

The GMI research team received strong support from the local partners in both countries. They would like to take this opportunity to register their most sincere thanks. 

More information about the work of GIFS can be found on their website


Dr Minghua Zhao

Public Lecture on Marine Fishing, 28th March 2012

The importance of the marine fishing industry to English and French coastal communities is the subject of a free public lecture at the University of Greenwich’s Medway Campus on 28 March.

The lecture will examine the social and cultural importance of marine fishing to coastal communities along the English Channel. Audio recordings and photographs will be used to provide a colourful glimpse of the contribution that marine fishing makes to the identity of coastal places.

People, plaice and chips: Marine fishing and coastal communities along the English Channel will be presented by two academics from the university’s School of Science: Dr Tim Acott, Principal Lecturer in Environmental Geography, and Dr Julie Urquhart, Research Fellow. Both are involved in the English-French collaborative project CHARM (Channel Integrated Approach to Marine Resource Management), co-funded by the INTERREG 4a Channel Programme.

The pair are also leading a €4.6 million project, called the Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability (co-funded by the INTERREG 4a 2 Seas Programme), exploring the social, cultural and economic importance of marine fishing for the development of sustainable coastal communities.

Dr Acott says: “Many coastal communities have strong links to fishing that span generations and fishing is a way of life that goes beyond the means to earning a living. Fishing’s influence is not confined to those activities that take place at sea, but spills over onto land to create a particular identity and sense of place in coastal towns inherently linked to fishing.

“Many people enjoy the spectacle of fishing while on holiday, the bright boats, the atmosphere of a real fishing place and the heritage taking us back to simpler times when villages and towns grew up on the back of the fishing industry.”

Last year the University of Greenwich hosted a major international conference about the cultural and social impacts of marine fishing on coastal communities, titled It’s Not Just About The Fish.

The lecture takes place in the Pembroke Building, Medway Campus, at 6.30pm and will be followed by light refreshments. If you would like to attend, please email and register your name.

For more details on the School of Science’s conferences and events, please visit