Hugh's Fish Fight
Letter to those who have been contacted by Chris Davies MEP:
Where Mr. Davies claims that UKIP and the political group we are attached to, does not have its views represented on the CFP reform is simply not true.
Many thanks to everyone who has sent me letters regarding the disastrous and morally bankrupt Common Fisheries Policy. This is something which I have been campaigning against for many years and as a Sea Angler is a policy very close to my heart.
Please find below my response to your enquiries:
Thank you for your email regarding reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
The CFP has, quite frankly, been an economic and environmental disaster in which the UK fishing industry and fish stocks have suffered terribly.
The draconian quotas system, forced on to us by the EU, has led to the throwing of dead fish back into the sea. For example in the North Sea, nearly half of all fish caught are thrown back dead. That is nearly one million tonnes a year.
But the question remains what we can do about it?
As I'm sure you are aware, the UK gave up regulation of the fishing industry to the EU. So not one MP you or anyone else elected in the UK can propose or amend law regarding discards or the wider fishing sector. The government repeatedly comes out against discards, as was seen by the recent "fish fight" (CFP reform) campaign led by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. What is laughably called the Fisheries Minister, supports Hugh, but can do nothing about it.
So Hugh went to the top. He met with EU Commissioner Damanaki (Fisheries portfolio) and for the cameras, she said that "you the people can make this change" - when in fact this isn't true. The EU parliament has very little say and is easily ignored by the Commission, which is the only body that can really regulate.
The UK MPs you elect can't do anything about it, the UK government can't do anything about it, the MEPs you vote for are powerless to initiate reform. No one you vote for can initiate or substantially change any CFP reform. It is at this point I have to ask the question, what sort of democracy do we live in when we can't change a policy by the ballot box?
This gets to the core of my position. The only way we can deal with the problem of discards is by taking back control of fishing policy and instituting policies to end such waste - which means kicking the EU out of Britain.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more and more areas becoming an EU "competence"; look at environmental legislation and the effects of bio fuels on developing countries, look at the Common Agriculture Policy - one disaster after another and there's nothing we can do about it because the Commission calls the shots, and we can't vote them in or out.
UKIP policy on fishing can be summarised as below:
• Immediately withdraw from the Common Fisheries Policy
• Reassert our territorial rights, reclaim our fishing grounds, restore our fishing fleet and support our fishing industry for future generations
• Return £2.5bn a year in fish sales to the UK economy
• Establish an ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’ extending 200 nautical miles from the UK’s coastline over which the UK exerts total control
• Abandon all EU quotas and strictly forbid the shameful discarding of dead fish - sometimes up to 70% of catches or 800,000 tons p.a.
• Require all commercial species of fish caught, regardless of size or species, to be landed and recorded. This will allow the Government to determine how best to manage the recovery of UK fishing grounds. To preserve fish stocks, UKIP will establish a system of moveable ‘No Take Zones’ allowing fish to spawn and assisting recovery in overfished areas
• Ban all forms of industrial fishing and pair trawling for bass. Industrial trawlers have helped cause a catastrophic decline in key fish species
As a member of the Fisheries Committee in the EU "Parliament" I have made many speeches against discards.
Here is one from the hearing of Commissioner Damanaki:
I shall, of course, vote against the quota system any chance I get, and will continue to speak out against discards as much as I can in the media.