Thursday, 30 June 2011

Open Letter from FAL

THE FISHERMEN’S ASSOCIATION LIMITED


OPEN LETTER TO MARIA DAMANAKI, LORD DEBEN (formerly JOHN GUMMER) and RICHARD BENYON UK Fisheries Minister


At the GLOBE World Ocean’s Day Forum on 8 June it was reported in Fishing News that EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki stated she “really needs help and support” on CFP reform. While Lord Deben asked “where will the fishermen be in 20 years time if we do not concentrate on the fish?” and stated “ Fish don’t belong to any one country; they don’t acknowledge borders and fishing nations need to be reminded of that.”

Let’s lay to rest once and for all this nonsense of fish not acknowledging boundaries.

Fish are a “common resource” only in the narrow sense that they are no respecters of national boundaries. That, however, is not the issue. Nobody claims to “own” wild species. What individuals, nations and local communities do claim is the exclusive right to exploit them while they are in the areas under their jurisdiction, such right being qualified only for the purpose of conservation in the more general interest. There is, however, no logical progression from this principle to that of allowing free access to all the waters of member states, which in fact is diametrically opposed to practical conservation.

Neither the Commissioner nor her predecessors, nor Mr Gummer in his previous incarnation of UK Secretary of State for Environment and Fisheries, have listened one iota to what the industry has been saying. In the last 30 years we have witnessed its destruction with the UK fleet having been halved, all in the name of conservation whilst at the same time allowing seal predation to reach mind-boggling levels.

The blitz of reduced quotas continues to create unimaginable problems for the whole industry both onshore and offshore while reducing, even banning discards is the new bandwagon “game in town” even although the stocks are recovering at significantly improved levels that ICES is not prepared to admit. Is this politically motivated science? He who pays the piper calls the tune?

In 10 years time there will be no UK industry left to speak of as it will be consumed by remorseless environmental pressure to give the politicians credibility at the ballot box.

Only an ardent Europhile would comment that “There will be no future for fish without the EU.”

The very EU fisheries policies which have wrecked the UK industry for the past three decades are to be repeated under this so called current CFP reform, until we, like so many before us, are eradicated and our heritage and way of life destroyed.

Under the Highland Clearance families were uprooted to make way for sheep and the people driven onto the seashore either to live or die. The parallel with our present situation has a striking, unbelievable familiarity.

We are told we are supposed to look back and learn from history, yet in the name of

THE FISHERMEN’S ASSOCIATION LIMITED

supposed conservation we are being sacrificed on the altar of the EU with our own government complicit in that treachery.

And the reason......... to implement the overarching EU strategy of establishing a single EU fleet operating in EU and Third country waters which is directed by the EUs Agents -- National governments and Producer Organisations dictating where, when and how you can operate.

The Common Fisheries Policy has failed to conserve fish stocks. It has caused untold hardship for fishermen and their local communities and industries. That policy cannot be reformed.

The EU Nation States must regain control of their own waters rather than the competence for fisheries remaining with Brussels. That has not worked. It has been proved to be ineffective and inadequate in the conservation and management of fish resources.

A J Patience
Chairman, FAL
24 June 2011

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