Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Scottish Government calls for CFP to be scrapped

The Scottish Government has called for the Common Fisheries Policy to be scrapped rather than reformed in its response last month to the European Commission's Green Paper on the reform of the CFP. Scottish ministers wish to see national control of fisheries restored to Member-States and have adopted the return of such decision-making powers to Scotland as their guiding principle throughout the debate on the future of the CFP which will take place during 2010 and 2011.

The Commission's Green Paper offered countries the opportunity to set out their principles on European fisheries policy in a consultation that ended on 31 December 2009. In its response (www.scotland.gov.uk/cfp), the Scottish Government has set out its vision for Scotland to manage her own seas and to deliver improvements for Scotland's fishing fleets and fish stocks through managing stocks in partnership with other nations who share those stocks.

Measures spelled out in the Scottish Government response include:
  • management measures to end discards
  • co-management of Scotland's seas with industry and marine stakeholders
  • management measures aligned with marine environmental and planning objectives
  • a model that respects each country's historic fishing rights and prevents quota being sold to other countries
Looking at "Life outside the CFP", the Scottish Government's response points toNorway, a country with a population similar in size to Scotland, as an example of a country which sucessfully manages its fisheries outside the CFP - Norway engages in bilateral negotiations with the EU and is able to establish joint management of stocks based on "equal partnership".

The report states that the Government's response has been informed by stakeholder and public consultation, which has revealed the following themes which the Government believe must be addressed inorder to achieve meaningful reform:
  • decision-making delegated to those closest to the fishery
  • changes to fisheries management to bring about an end to discards
  • efforts of Member States and stakeholders to manage fisheries recognised, encouraged and incentivised
  • improvements to the data underlying fisheries management decisions.
The SNP's call for the scrapping of the CFP has been dismissed by Liberal Democrat fisheries spokesperson Liam McArthur as "just more pointless grandstanding" (www.fishingnews.co.uk 25 December 2009).

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