Liberal Democrat MEPs, Edward McMillan-Scott and Rebecca Taylor have backed major reforms aimed at rebuilding Europe’s depleted fish stocks, agreed by MEPs meeting in Strasbourg today.
The new EU Common Fisheries Policy will make it a legal requirement to set quotas for fish catches using maximum sustainable yields, with the aim of rebuilding fish stocks by 2020. It requires long-term management plans to be prepared for every fishery and devolves day-to-day decisions about fishing practice from Brussels to regional bodies. A ban on the discard of fish will be phased in from 2015.
Liberal Democrat, Edward McMillan-Scott, has long campaigned on this issue and has even arranged for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to visit the European Parliament. Speaking after the vote Edward claimed the new policy demonstrated the importance of Britain playing a constructive role in Europe to achieve reform;
“For too long decisions were made about fishing policy that ignored scientific advice, with the result that Europe now has to import two thirds of the fish we eat.
“These changes are hugely important, and British ministers and British MEPs can claim credit for the role they played in overcoming French and Spanish opposition.
Rebecca Taylor added,
“The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is a work in progress, but this is a significant step in the right direction, even if further improvements are still needed. I am pleased real progress is being made and this can already be seen in the recovery of cod and haddock stocks around our coasts.”