Select Committee on Agriculture Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence



Memorandum submitted by Save Britain's Fish (T1)

  There are four serious issues facing the United Kingdom Fishing Industry and ancillary Industries.


  Unless a new non-discriminatory management system is put in place by 31 December 2002, agreed upon by qualified majority voting, then one second past midnight the one and only CFP, as per the acquis communautaire, that of the equal access principle, will commence automatically. All Spain has to do, is say "No" to everything and push the other Member States to that deadline.

  Most of the suggestions put forward for this so called review, and in turn the 2003 onwards management system, commonly, but incorrectly, called "a new CFP", are discriminatory. To obtain that you need unanimity.

  Can that be possible? The Amsterdam Treaty has given the European Union (EU) powers to draw up legislation to tackle most forms of discrimination. In June 2000, the EU Governments agreed to adopt the first directive based on these new Treaty provisions—a law designed to outlaw discrimination in all areas of nationality, race, sex, religious belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

  You would have to overturn the Amsterdam Treaty. MAFF will answer the problem is solved by the retention of "relative stability", but MAFF are fully aware that because of EU Treaties, the present discriminatory form of "relative stability" will disappear.


  Many feel the discriminatory suggestions put forward for 2003 are confirmed as acceptable in the Green Paper. This is not the case, as this paper is a consultation document. No where is it stated that these suggestions have legality.

  However clues can be found as to the future outcome. For example: At the same time ensuring that Fisheries governance remains compatible with the legal and institutional framework of the Treaty and that it does not affect the global and Community characters of the CFP.

  The CFP is that of the acquis communautaire, not the present 20 year (1983-2002) exemption from the acquis.


  The closed area was taken from the log sheets based on the last five years' fishing. It was done with the full knowledge it would force Fishermen to operate in areas of small fish. To allow Industrial Fishing under the cover of "sandeels" in these areas with mesh sizes less than 16mm is immoral.

  These recovery plans will not increase fish for human consumption, it is possible they will have the opposite effect. What will happen is that the Scottish fleet will be financially disadvantaged, and by 2003, when Spain has secured a system of tradable quota/permit, the Scottish fleet will be ripe for take-over.

  In the meantime not one cod will be saved, but the obligation of the Treaties will have been secured.


  There is no doubt in the minds of Save Britain's Fish that the primary cause of white fish stock reductions, is down to the destruction of the feed source. Secondary causes are the removal of several Minimum Landing Sizes which has legalised the sale of baby fish, and the increase in seal population.

  MAFF will dispute these causes intensely, but none of their arguments stand scrutiny. We have been through most of this before in the BarentS Sea, and the same symptoms are appearing now in the North Sea.

  White fish stocks will never recover until the feed source situation is rectified, predator capacity adjusted, and juveniles protected.

16 April 2001

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