The Chairman of FAL responded to Richard Benyon's article with this letter:
Face the Music Mr Benyon
If the Minister had better informed himself about the EU Treaty obligations relative to the CFP after FAL explained these to him when he was Shadow Fisheries Secretary, then I might have some belief in his declared commitment to ensure a thriving UK fishing industry.
There is nothing broken about the CFP. It is achieving what is set out in the treaties: EQUAL ACCESS TO A COMMON RESOURCE. Everything else is a smoke screen including protecting stocks for future generations.
The Commission has gone out of its way for years to make it absolutely clear that the non negotiable “acquis communautaire” for marine fisheries is free access to waters on a non discriminatory basis for all member states fleets, for all species of fish within the waters of all EU maritime nations. The CFP is about establishing an EU fleet, controlled, directed and managed from and by Brussels using compliant Member States as their agents to that end.
For any Minister to say that the current reform process provides one of the biggest opportunities ever to shape the future of the CFP is disingenuous. Fifty per cent of our fleet has gone. Once prosperous fishing villages decimated, boat building is virtually at a standstill and net manufacturers and engineering businesses closed.
The disaster in the British Fishing Industry, and that is surely what it is, entirely emanates from the principle of equal access and non discrimination to British waters and marine resources enshrined and deep-rooted in the Common Fisheries Policy.
Any reform will be virtually meaningless. Exclusive competence for fisheries has been transferred to Brussels without the consent of the British people.
I refer Mr Benyon to the FN article "Looking back" of 20 April 2012. He should reflect on the words of the late Sir James Goldsmith who, when addressing a large crowd of fishermen at Newlyn 15 years ago stated that the EU “had been built on stealth and lies".
Nothing has changed in 40 years. Neither will it until we escape from this edifice of a federal Europe and repatriate powers which were shamefully given away in the first place.
Unless that happens our once proud heritage will continue its demise -- another expendable industry forfeited on the altar of the EU while, not for the last time on fisheries, the British public continues to be seriously misled.
A J Patience
25 April 2012