Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Tom Hay explains things to MEPs

Tom Hay, the Honorary Chairman of FAL, continues in his efforts to educate our politicians. Here is a letter he wrote to Ian Hudghton an SNP representative in the European Parliament, where the party is a member of the Greens/European Free Alliance Group for voting and funding purposes and he, himself, sits on the Committee on Fisheries. A copy of the letter went to Struan Stevenson MEP, Vice-Chair of that Committee, who has been mentioned on this blog before.

The letter is being published with Tom's permission.

Dear Ian,

It was good to see you in the Waterside Inn this past Friday the 30th March 2012.

I am sure that the thoughts which gave rise to the statement you made publicly in Aviemore a few years ago that FAL was right, must revolve around your mind oftentimes, as you witness the continued deliberate destruction of the British White fish fleet, as it desperately struggles to survive, only a stone’s throw away from its almost inevitable collapse.

Be that as it may, I was visibly shaken, and astonished that you sought to proffer the thought, that the horrendous anti-British principle of “equal access” to our fishing grounds, and living marine resources might only be a threat. Every Nation which has become a member of the European Union both with, and without a maritime sea-board, has agreed by treaty to accept that principle.

The Commission has gone out of its way for years, to make it absolutely clear that the “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, and that the “acquis” is not negotiable. Actual negotiations are limited to transitional arrangements or derogations, but for as long as the European Union continues, the “acquis communautaire” remains sacrosanct”.

It is outwith the bounds of EU law for a derogation to override a treaty. If a derogation could at any time wipe out a treaty, what would be the point of having a treaty in the first place? Furthermore one member state or an applicant nation such as Iceland, (if they are foolish enough) cannot amend a treaty without the unanimous consent of all the other member states. Treaty amendments have usually been made at inter governmental conferences which are usually held once every four years, although this time limit is not unalterable, but every head of state must be at the summit, and the decision taken must be unanimous.

If on the other hand the UK Parliament argued that a continuance of the present derogation was a vital national interest of ours, and the Spanish or any other member state argued that its discontinuation was equally a vital national interest of theirs, and if all negotiations failed, as could easily happen, and perhaps would most likely happen, the disagreement would have to be brought before the European Court of Justice. The Court would without the least shadow of doubt find that the derogation must end, and the full thrust of the “equal access” principle as prescribed by the treaties must be introduced.

The simple fact is therefore, however unpalatable it may be, that any other member state of the EU in this sequence of events, could veto the continuance of the derogation after 2012, but we cannot by veto ensure its continuance. 

The European Union’s plan of action to get rid of the British fishing fleet is quite clear, especially to those of us who have experienced the most awful persecution and humiliation of the 1983 derogation. The Brussels bureaucracy deviously planned and cleverly masterminded the concept, that our fishermen should be guided towards the establishment of a single European Union fleet, on a non discriminatory basis, with no increase in fishing effort without them ever knowing what was happening.

They believed that this could best be accomplished by successive steps, each craftily disguised as emphasising the need for more and more conservation, but which when taken together would inevitably and irreversibly lead to the annihilation of the British fleet. Thus with characteristic arrogance and contempt for ordinary hard working people, these lavishly paid and incompetent officials have assumed that British fishermen could be deluded, however reluctantly, into co-operating in their own extermination.

The European Court of Justice has stated that the Community system of national quotas is a derogation from the general rule of equal conditions of access to fishery resources, and the principle of non-discrimination laid down in Article 40(3) of the treaty. I have a top secret, classified, confidential document, which was leaked to me from a government department which clearly states this. I am prepared to let you see it sometime if you should so wish. So how can the 1983 fisheries agreement be the Common Fisheries Policy, and a derogation from it at the same time? Those who knowingly continue to propagate this lie, are highly skilled in the deception, since it serves the purpose of deceiving our fishermen into believing that the Common Fisheries Policy can be reformed, when indeed it cannot!

In October 17 2003, not all that long after the end of the 2002 derogation, it was reported from the EU Fisheries Conference in Southern Ireland, and I quote --- Spanish fishermen will be given access to some of Europe’s most sensitive fishing grounds under a deal agreed by EU Fisheries Ministers. They have agreed to open almost 10,000 square miles off the Irish coast, until now been deemed environmentally sensitive. The deal to allow access to a quarter of the restricted area ignored opposition from Ireland, Britain, France and Portugal. The Irish Box, a 50 mile exclusion zone round the Irish coast has been seen as one of the most important spawning and nursery grounds in EU waters. 

Neil Parish MEP, Conservative Spokesman on Fisheries in the European Parliament, said “ This decision is totally hypocritical. The European Commission is telling everyone that whitefish stocks are perilously low, and have demanded quota cuts and reductions in time at sea, for British fishermen etc. etc…..until Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler is quoted as having said --- “Spain and Portugal have now been fully integrated into the CFP, all rules that could be considered as discriminatory have been abolished and from now on, EU measures will apply equally to all. The new regime legally brings to an end the discriminatory restrictions on access following the full integration of Spain and Portugal into the Common Fisheries Policy.”

Can we really expect our so called European Partners to whom we have given such valuable treaty guarantees to negotiate their cancellation, and thus surrender their assurance of unfettered access to some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. I think not. The stark reality which yawns before our fishermen is the fact that they have to be driven out of their own fishing grounds to let the rest of the member states fishermen predominate in British waters.

The only way to rescue the British fishing industry, and having it re-established as it once was, is through the restoration of National Control by a United Kingdom Act of Parliament, over those waters legally under our jurisdiction in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the sea 1982.

I am sending a copy of this letter to Struan Stevenson MEP. 

I have not the slightest doubt that FAL will be accredited a station of great honour, in the annals of history for telling British fishermen the truth.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Hay. Hon. Chairman FAL 

So far, there has been no reply and Tom's exposition of the Common Fisheries Policy as it really is has not been acknowledged, refuted or even discussed. 


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