As we have mentioned on this blog, Sheryl Murray MP for South East Cornwall is now the Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fisheries and we do expect great things from her.
She has written a piece for Conservative Way Forward about EU renegotiations and the fishing industry, which is good enough as a starting point but we do hope she will go further. Actually, we fully expect her to do so.
Most of the piece is a useful summary of the history of the fishing industry since the seventies and the unhelpfulness of the Common Fisheries Policy with which we agree entirely though we would have preferred greater emphasis on the fact that this is a political structure with decisions being made at the centre with close regard to the essence of the policy that Ms Murray does mention:
Enshrined in every Basic Regulation after that time is the Principle of, “Equal Access to a Common Resource”.This is enshrined because it is the basis of that agreement and has actually been in the treaties since the Maastricht one of evil fame.
The much touted reforms have not altered that by a whisker or a fishbone. Equal access and common resource are still the guiding principles.
Sheryll Murray ends the piece with the following words:
As David Cameron pushes for better terms for the British people in his renegotiation talks with the EU, we all have a unique opportunity to finally put fishing at the heart of discussions. Now is the time for the Prime Minister to rectify the dreadful mistakes of the past and include restoration of national control over the UK 200 mile median line limit so we can operate freely just like our neighbours in Iceland and Norway.
Indeed, we would like to be in the same position as Iceland and Norway: we would like to control our own fishing waters and negotiate on our own behalf. There is, as it happens, only one way of achieving that state of affairs: by leaving the Common Fisheries Policy and repatriating powers over the fishing industry to this country. So far, the Prime Minister has shown no sign of negotiating that exit.