Brussels annual fish haggle begins
Posted, December 18, 2008 @ 11:00
More gloom expected from fisheries ministers
Brussels, 18th December 2008 -- Whitefish and herring fishermen are bracing themselves for their annual dose of bad news, as EU fisheries ministers meet in Brussels to discuss the quotas for 2009.
Struan Stevenson MEP, Conservative fisheries spokesman in the European Parliament, has said the proposals put to ministers by the European Commission, which would see swingeing cuts to whitefish and herring quotas, are 'misguided'. He has called for decision-making over fisheries management to be devolved to Regional Advisory Councils, and away from bureaucrats in Brussels.
In November, the commission tabled proposals to cut quotas and fishing intensity on cod, haddock, whiting and herring by 25 percent, with a seven percent increase in North Sea sole. The commission also proposed a system of effort limitation for cod fisheries measured by kilowatt-day ceilings instead of the 'days-at-sea' system applied in 2008.
Mr Stevenson said:
"Fishermen dread this annual meeting. In a matter of hours, the fate of British fishermen could be sealed in a misguided effort to preserve stocks through micro-management from Brussels.
"A decade of failed fisheries policies has only served to destroy thousands of jobs across the fishing industry, yet fish stocks continue to plummet.
"The introduction of a kilowatt-day system - a highly complex method of linking engine power to the number of hours fished - on top of the other plethora of controls already in place will not provide the solution to our difficulties.
"The best way for the EU to show it is serious about protecting fish stocks would be to ban fish discards immediately so that a million tonnes of fish is not thrown back into the sea. Discarding fish during a food crisis, just to appease Brussels desk-jockeys is morally unjust."