Source: South China Morning Post Editorial
Free markets have their place, but not when it comes to fishing. That is why the ban on bottom and mid-water trawling in our waters took effect at the start of the new year and is so welcome. Limited restrictions and a ravenous appetite for seafood have led to the fishing industry harvesting a greater catch than is sustainable. Fish stocks are in crisis, the marine environment dangerously stressed and fleet restructuring urgently needed.
The ban is a first, but giant, step in that direction. It puts 50 square kilometres of our waters off-limits to trawlers, banishing their nets that can indiscriminately scoop up all marine life from bed to surface. With our island and reef-studded waters a breeding and nursery ground for a rich variety of fish, the lack of regulation has been particularly destructive. After 14 years of discussion, moves that will allow for recovery of populations and habitats are finally in place.