EU's raw deal for sea anglers

THE European Commission is muddying our waters again unnecessarily. This time, it is our recreational sea anglers who face the full extent of their ridiculous bureaucracy which could have a considerable impact in the Eastern region.

Robert Sturdy MEP

THE European Commission is muddying our waters again unnecessarily. This time, it is our recreational sea anglers who face the full extent of their ridiculous bureaucracy which could have a considerable impact in the Eastern region.

It follows the announcement by the European Commission that it wants to impose quotas on recreational fishermen limiting the number of fish they may catch. They say it is intended to protect endangered species, such as cod, pollack and shark.

East Anglia has some of the finest fishing coastline in the country and sea angling, in particular, has seen a huge surge in popularity in the last decade. Now it is proposed that these quotas will be included in the total quota allowed to individual Member States. I just can't see that happening.


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Although I welcome reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, which has to date been bad for British fishermen, I believe this proposal is ludicrous and will be totally unworkable. Introducing reforms that will require further micro-management from Brussels will only exacerbate the present problems. To me, this is totally unworkable and cannot be managed.

To propose regulations that target an innocent minority enjoying his leisurely pursuit is only going to alienate our electorate, particularly our anglers who genuinely enjoy fishing for pleasure, and make us a laughing stock. It will complicate current legislation and I shall vigorously oppose it.

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When will Brussels realise that this heavy handed approach will not only result in a bureaucratic nightmare if it becomes law, but would actually do very little to meet its objectives in the recovery of fishing stocks, as well as damaging tourism in these coastal regions. That is something I certainly do want to see happen in East Anglia.

I believe if the European Commission is serious about wanting to protect our fish stocks, it should launch a total and effective review of the CFP, and not target the harmless recreational sea angler.

“SOME” folk want their luck buttered,” Thomas Hardy once said. And the luck for EU farmers seems to be getting better. This week it was announced that the EU is buying 30,000 tonnes of unsalted butter to put into cold storage, as well as up to 109,000 tonnes of milk powder. Just so you understand exactly the full extent of this, this weight is around the same as 75 jumbo jets. Inexplicably, this is happening at a time when the EU is committed to wholesale reform of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), resolving the problems that had led to the now infamous "mountains" and food and "lakes" of oil and wine, and is a massive step backwards.

The reason given for this extraordinary action is protection. EU farmers have suffered from a massive drop in demand in their main butter markets (especially in Russia as a result of the crash of the rouble) which in turn has resulted in a price crash. This action undermines all our efforts to move away from the protectionist policies of the past.

At a time of ongoing financial crisis, we should be fully liberalising markets and placing Europeans on an equal playing field with our competitors. We are, in effect, artificially supporting farmers by inflating the market price for these commodities. In my opinion farmers, would much rather turn a profit in a system that is both free and fair.

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