New fisheries deal ‘will be good for our regions’

New fisheries deal will be good for regions, says MEP

New fisheries deal will be good for regions, says MEP - Credit: PA

An MEP has welcomed a compromise deal on fisheries policy thrashed out in Europe this week, saying there will now be “meaningful” regional control.

Conservative MEP for the East of England Geoffrey Van Orden says he wants UK fisheries policy to be brought back under British control but said that European fisheries ministers had agreed “a good deal”.

The deal has been hailed as bringing real benefits for British fishermen - if it wins approval from MEPs.

Marathon talks started on Monday between EU fisheries ministers and ended at dawn on Wednesday with agreement on plans to correct decades of failed attempts to restore dwindling fish stocks.

But the proposals do not include the proposed blanket ban on “discards” - or dumping of dead fish to avoid breaching size restrictions. It does ban from 2015 the dumping of pelagic fish - those living near the surface.

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UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon said it was “not as ambitious as I would have liked”, but urged the European Parliament to approve it.

Celebrity chef and fisheries policycampaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said: “There will be a discards ban - and that is a vindication of the huge public support for our Fish Fight campaign to end this disgraceful waste of good fish.”

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Mr Van Orden said: “A good deal has now been agreed by fisheries ministers for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy on May 15.

He added: “The appalling discard policy has been reduced to practical limits.

“And a better basis for sustainable fishing and fish stocks has been set out. I have listened to the concerns of our fishermen in Suffolk and Essex over the years and they want the Common Fisheries Policy radically reformed.

“In Aldeburgh for example, I was told about the sheer waste resulting from the shocking ‘dumping’ practices enforced by Brussels.

“This agreement has given a clear timetable to stop this, and to reverse the decades of centralisation that has proved so harmful to our region’s fishing industry. ”

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