Berwick's Liberal Democrat MP Sir Alan Beith has described proposals to reform the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) as a "a positive step".
The European Commission has unveiled proposals to overhaul the policy by providing fishing fleets with greater flexibility, ending the practice of fish discarding and securing the long-term sustainability of European fish stocks.
Under the changes, fisheries will have to take into account the sustainability of the local ecosystem and the impact of their fishing practices on that system. All fish stocks will have to be brought to sustainable levels by 2015 with long-term management plans based on sound scientific advice.
The proposals seek to hand back more decision-making powers to member states, so that the industry can tailor its actions to local conditions. They also outline that fishermen's organisations will play a stronger role in steering market supply and increasing fishermen's profits.
The policy will now be decided through co-decision between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament and is expected to be finalised during 2013.
Sir Alan said
"Fishermen themselves do not want to operate a system which involves throwing fish back into the sea which cannot survive and what they need is a regional management system under which discarding is unnecessary and recognition is given to the mixed nature of the fisheries on which our local boats depend.
"Fishermen are also concerned about Marine Conservation Zones being accessible to boats from other countries and I welcome the Government's strong stand against this during the negotiations."
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