East Anglian group joins call for fishing policy to be controlled by UK
PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 March 2012
An MEP for the East of England is calling for the country’s fishing policy to be brought back under national control.
East Anglian fishermen have to controversially dump dead fish into the North Sea due to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, but as the issue comes under discussion once again, Geoffrey Van Orden is calling for the UK to take back control of the industry.
And the Anglia Fishermen’s Association are backing the move, saying that the current quota system does not work and is “antiquated”.
Melvin Robinson, a spokesman for the association, said: “This is not conservation, the fish are still killed and the fisherman bring home half a catch so they are dying too, it is lose-lose all around.”
He added: “We would like to see an end to the quotas and see them replaced with a system of effort limitation, which limits the numbers of days and hours you are at sea.”
Today Fisheries Ministers from across Europe are to meet to discuss the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, with MPs in the UK calling for the “one-off” opportunity to be taken to give greater powers to European Union countries to monitor their own fish stocks.
Mr Van Orden said: “Clearly, each country’s needs and problems are different. I pointed out to the European Commission that the solution to so many problems would be to return control of fisheries to our nations.”
He added: “I have always said that the Common Fisheries Policy was bad for our fish and bad for our fishermen. The European Commission has at last begun to recognise this.
“I pointed out that the East of England - and particularly Lowestoft - used to have a large and vibrant fishing industry. Sadly this is no longer the case.”
However, even though commissioner Maria Damanaki is backing a ban for discards, which would mean fishermen landing all fish they catch, some member states are believed to want them to continue the practice of dumping some back into the sea indefinitely.
In July it was announced it was announced that the European Commission intended to ban the 18 small fishing vessels based in Lowestoft, Southwold and Great Yarmouth from discarding fish as part of an effort to meet sustainable fishing targets.
The issue at the time was highlighted by Channel 4’s Fish Fight that estimated that 50pc of all fish caught in the North Sea are thrown back overboard dead because fishermen inadvertently catch more than their quota.
The discard ban will not impact on King’s Lynn, Cromer and Wells as the towns’ fleets are focused on catching crustaceans and shell fish.