Prince Charles’ latest remarks have sparked outrage after he claimed pirates have been ‘fantastic’ for marine life because fisherman were too scared to do their job.
The 68-year-old royal said there had been a ‘fantastic explosion’ of bigger fish off the coast of Somalia due to the lack of activity in the sea.
Speaking to Sky News, Prince Charles said: ‘As a result, there hasn’t been any fishing there for the last ten or 15 years. And from that there has been a fantastic explosion of bigger and bigger fish.’
His comments came after delivering a keynote speech at the Our Ocean Conference in Malta, which came on the same day that he released a rehabilitated turtle back into the wild.
Prince Charles has been lambasted for his comments by former SAS trooper and anti-piracy expert Phil Campion and former solider Stephen Beardsley, who faced pirates in the Indian Ocean.
Mr Campion said: ‘These are nasty gangs doing extreme harm, not worrying about life.
‘There’s a few extra fish. Compare that to people’s lives lost, it’s insensitive. If Charles thought about it he’d have a change of heart.’
Mr Beardsley said: ‘They aren’t friendly, never mind environmentally friendly.’
Earlier this year, Somali pirates hijacked a commercial ship after pretending to beg for water.
An oil tanker crewed by eight Sri Lankans was boarded by armed pirates near Somalia’s lawless northern coast.
During their peak years, Somali pirates earned hundreds of millions of dollars in randoms but western boats have now been forced to carry armed guards on board.
The Prince of Wales releases a rehabilitated turtle into the sea on Golden Bay beach after meeting veterinarians from Nature Trust Malta
It comes after Prince Charles also warned yesterday that ‘plastic is now on the menu’ as almost every fish caught for the dinner table contains refuse dumped in our oceans.
He attacked the damaging effects of the ‘throw-away, convenience lifestyles of many around the world’, which sees eight million tonnes of plastic waste entering seas and oceans each year.
He also criticised ‘perverse’ global fisheries subsidies, which encourage excessive and unregulated fishing, further depleting stocks.
Calling for urgent action, Charles said: ‘All the plastic that we have produced since the 1950s that has ended up in the ocean is still with us in one form or another, so that wherever you swim there are particles of plastic near you and we are very close to reaching the point when whatever wild-caught fish you eat will contain plastic.
‘Plastic is indeed now on the menu!’
The royal got a helping hand as he laid the turtle on the sand close to the water’s edge
The Prince of Wales with Queen Noor of Jordan (left) and Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat (right) after delivering the keynote speech at the Our Ocean conference
Charles was speaking at the Our Ocean Conference in Malta, where he helped to release a loggerhead turtle back into the sea after it had been treated after swallowing a piece of plastic.
He used his speech to launch a Blue Economy Initiative, a collaboration between the Prince’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU) and the World Resources Institute (WRI), which aims to encourage investment and policies that protect the oceans.
Charles said it was time for ‘bold action’, adding: ‘I’m afraid I really do wonder if the ocean’s fragility is yet truly grasped and how susceptible it is to the impacts of our economic activities?
‘We must act now. How, otherwise, will future generations ever forgive us for destroying the viability of the natural world that is our ultimate sustainer?’
The Prince of Wales (left) meets Vince Attard (right) and volunteers on Golden Bay beach
The royal delivered the keynote speech at the Our Ocean conference in St Julian’s
The Prince of Wales talks to Queen Noor of Jordan, the former wife of the late King Hussein
Charles backs Mail’s call for bottle scheme that would slash litter
Prince Charles last night backed the Mail’s call for a deposit and return scheme on plastic bottles and drinks cans, as it was claimed it would cut the number dumped as litter by more than a million a day.
Charles said he had ‘tried hard’ to cut the use of plastic bottles in the royal households.
‘I was the first one to start a skip at Buckingham Palace,’ he told ITV News.
‘I have been trying to get the point across that what we really need to look at very rapidly is what they’ve been doing in Sweden for 25 years and Germany for 15 years and other countries in Europe – a deposit scheme on plastic bottles.
‘That has worked brilliantly in those countries which have introduced it.’
The Daily Mail has led the way in calling for a decrease in the use of plastics, running a successful eight-year campaign to introduce a 5p charge for the use of carrier bags which has seen an 85 per cent slump in their use.
Experts say that adding a small fee – around 15p – to plastic bottles and drinks cans would help clean up the streets, parks, beaches and the seas.
Research by waste consultant company Eunomia suggest the number of plastic bottles that end up as litter would come down by 700,000 per day – 255 million a year – across the country.
At the same time, the number of cans would fall by 600,000 a day, or 220 million a year.
Charles said the extent of the problem was ‘enormous, systemic and inter-related’, but he was optimistic that attempts made to stem the flow of plastics into the seas over the past decade would continue and increase.
He said: ‘With some brave decisions, the ocean can recover its health and by doing so generate employment and economic growth. Will there, at last, be a realisation that this small, beautiful blue dot of a planet may have been misnamed? It is not earth, it is actually mostly sea and we are utterly reliant upon it.’
Charles also highlighted the need to take ‘equally far-sighted steps’ to deal with ‘over-exploitative fishing’.
He said: ‘Surely the time is long overdue for taking a thorough, global look at perverse fisheries subsidies and their effects – particularly where they appear to contribute to overfishing, over-capacity and to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing?
‘Can it be right to argue on the one hand that our ocean must be protected while, on the other, activities that cause harm to the ocean should be subsidised?’
The royal spoke about the growing threat to marine life from plastic waste
The Prince of Wales releases a rehabilitated turtle into the sea on Golden Bay beach
The prince joined in a discussion with volunteers ahead of the turtle release
The heir to the throne said he believed it was ‘utterly crucial’ to create what he described as a ‘circular’ economy, which allows plastics to be recovered, recycled and reused instead of created, used and then thrown away.
‘On our increasingly crowded planet this economic approach has to be a critical part of establishing a more harmonious relationship between humankind and the ocean that sustains us all.’ He also argued that the recent hurricanes that have battered the US and the Caribbean were directly linked to climate change and man’s destruction of the globe.
He said: ‘If the unprecedented ferocity of recent catastrophic hurricanes is not the supreme wake-up call that it needs to be in order to address the vast and accumulating threat of climate change and ocean warming, then we – let alone the global insurance and financial sectors – can surely no longer consider ourselves as part of a rational, sensible civilisation.’
Charles told Sky News: ‘Fish are eating what they think are plankton and in fact it turns out to be plastic so it all comes back into the food chain.’ He said many ‘marvellous’ manufacturers were trying to develop alternatives to plastic, but added: ‘People go to the supermarket and complain bitterly there isn’t a piece of plastic between each slice of smoked salmon or whatever it is. The difficulty is what do you have instead of that?
‘There are alternatives beginning but they are apparently not yet good enough.’
The royal described how pirates terrorising vessels off the coast of Somalia have had one unforeseen positive effect – creating a fisherman-free zone where marine life has thrived