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Fisheries policy reform major breakthrough

June 14, 2012 8:46 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Andrew George MP for St Ives on fishing boatEU Fisheries Ministers reached a break-through agreement to reform the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The reforms include a ban on discarding fish, ending overfishing by 2020 and a new 'regionalisation' approach that will end centralised micro-management.

The Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for these changes, first calling for the setting up of Regional Advisory Councils 10 years ago. The reforms agreed* are a decisive step further by giving these Councils management and executive powers.

Commenting, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Policy Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Andrew George said:

"This break-through agreement is proof that major EU reform is possible if we put our minds to it.

"But with these new powers come new responsibilities. Fishermen must now work with scientists to ensure their fisheries become sustainable. If stocks become exhausted, they can only blame themselves. This new approach should generate the right dynamic and produce responsible fisheries management.

"Those in the UK that say that the only way to change things in Europe is by sacrificing our top player status, either by leaving the EU altogether or by seeking to unilaterally repatriate powers, need to take a cold hard look at the reform package agreed by working together and building alliances across national borders and think again."

*The draft reform package must now be agreed by the European Parliament under the EU's co-decision procedure.