Common fisheries policy
Delivered in Plenary - 6th February 2013
It scarcely needs to be pointed out that the radical change to the common fisheries policy is long overdue. For years the sight of British fishermen being compelled to throw discards back into the sea – something like one million tonnes of these dead fish yearly, and they are perfectly edible fish – demonstrated an unfeeling absurdity in EU policy and fomented deep domestic resentment in the UK about the over-extension of European Union power. At the same time, overfishing has gravely threatened the future of our fish stocks, as well as the future nutrition of my London constituents, many of whom depend on fish protein and omega 3 to keep them healthy. This applies particularly to children, who eat fish fingers as a major source of daily protein.
Therefore, with the exception of a few amendments, this report is hugely welcome to our Group. We need to create both a sustainable fishing industry and a sustainable marine ecosystem for the benefit of the environment, consumers and, not least, small-scale fishermen who have suffered great hardship under the common fisheries policy and deserve to be helped – and that is the aim of these reforms.