MP calls for change to fishing policies
A SUFFOLK MP has called for an urgent shake-up of fishing laws in a bid to save the livelihood of fishermen up and down the east coast.
Waveney MP Simon Aldous secured an end of day Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons.
He highlighted the dire situation facing fishermen and pressed for an urgent review of the Common Fisheries Policy, which he claimed had almost destroyed the fishing industry in his constituency of Lowestoft.
Mr Aldous said he was encouraged by a recent visit from Richard Benyon, minister for the natural environment and fisheries, and thanked him for his efforts.
But he said the current laws were over- centralised and failed to respond to local needs – something it was vital to address when the policy was reviewed in 2012.
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“The British under-10metre fleet gets a raw deal,” he said.
“They make up 85% of the British fishing fleet, but they get just under 4% of the quota available.
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“A Lowestoft fisherman has told me how only two weeks ago, in five days fishing, he had to throw back dead 1,300kg of skate.
“When one takes into account that this is happening all around the British coast, the waste, destruction and pouring of money into the sea is mind-boggling.”
As well as relaxing the quota system, he suggested that more control be given to local fishermen rather than the current top-down micro-management of the EU.
“The challenge that politicians across Europe must address, as a matter of the highest priority is to provide a proper policy framework in which the inshore fleet can rejuvenate itself and move forward, providing a fair living for all those working in it,” Mr Aldous said.
“I will not sit back and rest until a fishing regime that has almost destroyed the Lowestoft fishing industry is discarded and thrown overboard.”
A spokesman for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the Government would play a key role in reforming the Common Fisheries Policy.
“Conservation working hand-in-hand with a prosperous fishing industry will be at the centre of our approach,” he said.
“We must reduce the burden of over- centralised regulations on industry, allow businesses to plan for growth and end the disgrace of discards.”