50th birthday of 'disastrous' Common Fisheries Policy
Posted, January 22, 2008 @ 15:00
Shattered fish stocks and broken livelihoods leave little for fishermen to celebrate as the Common Fisheries Policy, which came into force on January 23rd 1958, marks its 50th birthday tomorrow (Wednesday).
Fisheries Spokesman for the Conservatives in the European Parliament, Struan Stevenson MEP, labelled the policy "disastrous", as he and colleagues continue their campaign to end the disgraceful by-catch and discards problem, which is a key consequence of the TAC (Total Allowable Catch) restrictions and quotas regime of the CFP. Up to a million tonnes of healthy fish - simply undersized, immature or out of quota - are thrown dead over the side of fishing boats in European waters every year.
But calmer seas seem to lie ahead with signs that the CFP will be broken up, with day-to-day management devolved to councils made up of fishermen, scientists and other stakeholders. Increasing trust in those working in the industry, alongside improved management and conservation, will see Europe's fisheries sector look very different in another 20 years.
"It is a sad indictment of the disastrous CFP that after years of quota cuts, TAC restrictions, de-commissioning schemes, lay-offs, tie-ups, emergency closures and redundancies, we have seen 60 per cent of the UK whitefish fleet scrapped and thousands of jobs destroyed. All this despite the fact that the core objectives of the policy written into the Treaty of Rome were aimed at preserving and protecting fish stocks and maintaining and enhancing jobs in the fishing industry.
"So tomorrow, when the CFP celebrates its 50th anniversary in Brussels, there are likely to be few fishermen helping to blow out the candles and eat what's left of a rapidly diminishing cake. Fifty years of micro-management from the ivory towers of Brussels has led to shattered fish stocks and broken livelihoods. A new era of calmer waters seems certain to lie ahead."