A speech by the Prince of Wales in Edinburgh marked the first meeting of the World Fisheries Congress in Europe, let alone the United Kingdom. His speech also marked a continuation of his current public speaking theme of sustainable food. And it’s probably no bad thing that the Prince of Wales speaks out.
Drawing on his own Royal Navy experience the Prince reflected on his days monitoring fishing vessel activities during the Icelandic Cod Wars of the 1970s. This introduction served him well, mixing some self deprecation with the seriousness of his task.
His speech made clear that he was no expert in fisheries management. But he noted that common sense should prevail.
He used statistics and figures well. But, he also observed:
Given the huge body of expertise gathered in this room today, I trust you’ll forgive me if I don’t repeat the many facts and figures I know you are all very familiar with.
That was a good touch because this speech could easily have been dominated by analysis of the available figures. Presumably the rest of the conference would undertake that work.
His speech emphasised, with some classic repetition, the progress that can be made with direct action in the world’s fisheries:
It was fascinating to see that these positive changes are leading to more fish in the sea, more fish landed, more secure livelihoods, more food and more profitable fisheries.
He has a fine way of weaving some personal insights and stories into his speeches:
I witnessed exactly this at first hand a couple of weeks ago when I visited the Isle of Man. I found…
These work well and serve to bring to life the issues discussed in his speech.
The Prince has undoubtedly learned the lessons of other speakers who discuss environmental matters. Audiences don’t tend to react well to speeches that spell doom and gloom ad nauseam. This speech spelled out how people could make a difference to the management of fish stocks and produce greatly enhanced revenues in the process.
After all, the World Bank estimates that if managed well, global fish stocks could be worth some fifty billion dollars more per year than they are today.
If that’s conservation, then perhaps we can all support the theme for this speech?
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