Saturday, 15 October 2011


There has been a technical hitch with comments. People do leave them and they can be read but, for some reason, their existence does not show up on the blog. Thus subsequent readers are unaware of the fact that a conversation has been started. Given that we want conversation on this blog, this is a serious problem and the technical department has been alerted. Unfortunately the alerting happened on Friday evening and so there will be no solution till Monday.

In the meantime, we shall publish the two recent comments here so readers should be able to see them.

There was a comment on the posting entitled Christopher Booker comes out fighting from PeterD:

Interesting - but not new news! The SNP knew this long before they came to power, after all there were close ties to Norway for many years and the Norwegians will certainly have explained the best use of Europe to our now government.
Fishermen have known this too and have pressed the point well home but nothing changes. It never will while we have a government who insist that a Fisheries Secretary can also double up as an Environmental Secretary.

There really is little to add to those cogent points except to say that the comment could just as easily have been made on another posting: Scottish Parliament debates the CFP. It would be no less true.

A comment from Roddy on These people suffer from amnesia says:

It is a pity Mr Major didn't pronounce his current thoughts on the EU when he had the political power to do something about it. The Foreign Office is still pro-EU, despite everything, for political reasons, not economic ones.

The unbelievable confusion and disorder in today’s British Fishing Industry is a direct result of the British Parliament transferring exclusive legal competence to “Brussels” for the conservation and management of all living marine resources within British waters, and accepting by Treaty that the principle of equal access to those waters and their resources should prevail.

Today we are confronted with the consequent catastrophe which now overwhelms our fishermen, as “Brussels” forces them out of their own fishing grounds in favour of an increasingly predatory armada of Spanish and other E.U. fishing vessels.

Never has the British fishing industry faced such dire peril, and there is only one clear unobstructed way of escape --- to permanently remove the principle of equal access to a common resource, by re-establishing our own 200 mile to median line Exclusive Fishing Zone, which rightly belongs to the British people according to International Law, and to control these waters from Westminster instead of Brussels. There is no other way of escape!

To say that this cannot be done is either a wilful fabrication of the truth, or total ignorance of British Constitutional Law.

To a great extent this confirms what the posting said about Mr Major's (or Sir John Major's) amnesia about his own record on matters to do with fishing. Two points need to be added. The principle of national waters extending to 200 miles or the median line was established in 1976 in the aftermath of the Cod Wars when The Fishery Limits Act was passed. This states categorically in the first Article:

(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, British fishery limits extend to 200 miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea adjacent to the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man is measured.

(2) Her Majesty may by Order in Council, for the purpose of implementing any international agreement or the arbitral award of an international body, or otherwise, declare that British fishery limits extend to such other line as may be specified in the Order.

(3) Where the median line defined below is less than 200 miles from the baselines referred to in subsection (1), and no other line is for the time being specified by Order in Council under subsection (2), British fishery limits extend to the median line.

(4) The median line is a line every point of which is equi-distant from the nearest points of, on the one hand, the baselines referred to in subsection (1) and, on the other hand, the corresponding baselines of other countries.

(5) Subject to section 10(2)(b) below, references to British fishery limits in any enactment for the time being in force relating to sea fishing or whaling are to the limits set by or under this section.

The Act was passed several years after the UK's accession to the EEC and the imposition without any Treaty basis of the Common Fisheries Policy, which is, in its original intention, equal access to what is termed a "common resource". It would appear that the new legislation trumped the CFP and would keep other fishing fleets out unless there was a specific agreement.

To get round this problem and to adhere to the principle of equal access the government passed a series of Orders in Council, as specified in Point (2), which allowed each of the other member states access to what was supposedly by legislation British territorial waters. [As soon as possible we shall post links to some of them.]

Another point that we need to add is that, sadly, British Constitutional Law has been changed out of all recognition through a series of treaties, which were passed into British legislation through Amendments to the European Communities Act of 1972. We are now locked into those treaties and to change any arrangement need to negotiate our way out, which can certainly be done, despite what politicians tell us. Or we can run up the equivalent of the South Carolina flag and announce that we no longer wish to accept certain parts of those treaties, specifically those to do with our fisheries. One way or another we need to restore our own Parliament's legislative supremacy. Nothing else will suffice.


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