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More bad news for fishermen

Tuesday, 20th October 2009

Roger Helmer, East Midlandsí Conservative MEP, has warned that British fishermen should brace themselves for more bad news in December. This is when EU ministers meet to agree fishing quotas and the European Commission on October 16th has proposed further quota cuts.

The commission has said that more belt-tightening is needed in order to encourage recovery of fish stocks. EU fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg has proposed cuts of up to 25% in permitted catches of cod and a cut of 25% for anglerfish, and whiting in the Irish Sea and west of Scotland, Irish Sea sole, and herring in the North and West of Ireland. The commission also wants to see substantial reductions in catches of West Scotland haddock and eastern English Channel sole, whilst for stocks of 50 other species cuts of 15% are proposed.

Mr Helmer said that once again the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has been shown to have failed fishermen and fish stocks, causing 60% of the UK's whitefish fleet to be scrapped. As a Member of the EUís Employment and Social Affairs Committee he also stressed how the Fisheries Policy has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs.

In April 2009 the commission proposed a Green Paper on the future of the CFP which suggests taking decisions regarding quotas out of the hands of Brussels bureaucrats and haggling ministers and placing them in the hands of Regional Advisory Councils.

Mr Helmer said:

"Decisions made in ivory towers in Brussels have destroyed livelihoods and decimated our fishing fleet, and the news that further cuts are on the way will push many fishermen to exasperation.

"The European Commission needs to bring the CFP to an end so that decisions regarding the future of fishing stocks can be made locally in consultation with fishermen, not by micro-management from Brussels.

"The commission has proposed reforming the system by 2012 but most fishermen will not survive until then, particularly if this most recent round of cuts is implemented."