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Euro MP Sharon Bowles calls for ‘proper debate on ignored issue of fishing quotas’

June 22, 2011 2:10 PM

A meeting of MEPs inBrusselstoday heard new evidence from the EU Fisheries Commissioner about the crisis facingEurope's fisheries.

Maria Damanaki told members of the Fish for the Future group in the European Parliament that tonnes of fish landed at EU ports fell by 30% between 1998 and 2008.

She said that survival of much ofEurope's fishing industry is at risk and that overfishing must cease, even though there may be consequences for employment.

Sharon Bowles MEPsaid:

"The sustainability of fishing is a big issue and one that has caused a big debate ahead of next year's reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy. However, while sustainability is an issue that must be addressed, there are many other issues that need urgent attention.

"For example, the plight of inshore fisheries and of sub-10 metre boats in theUK, which are prohibited from catching a better-than-subsistence quota of fish, has been largely ignored in favour of more emotive issues such as discards.

"I have met with fishermen across the South East in recent months who tell me that they struggle to catch fish because much of the quota is allocated to big producer organisations, many of which sell their quota, some of it unused, to other organisations for a profit.

"While I wholeheartedly support the abolition of discards, I hope that this issue, along with sustainability, is not the only issue on the table.

"There should be a proper debate on fishing quotas and their allocation, especially when there are so many inshore fishermen struggling to make ends meet."