Memorandum submitted by the Fishermen's
Association Limited (T3)
CFP REVIEW (Some thoughts)
The Commission, have recently produced a Green
Paper. It gives the impression in some instances that they will
surrender their solemn and legally binding obligation of being
the guardian of the Treaties for something less onerous than the
It's a fiction which they themselves expose,
even with their most careful choice of language, and which they
hope will escape our attention. "While at the same time",
they say "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 character of
the Common Fisheries Policy".
Exactly! The Commission as the custodian of
the Treaties is the very last body on earth, which would set in
motion the process of dismantling them. Only the unbelievably
naïve or those anxious to Make excuses for the destruction
of the British fleet, could possibly give credence to such an
The "European Court of Justice" has
been described by one of its members as a Court "with a mission",
which means that it is driven by the political objectives of the
Treaties. It is required above all else to pursue the process
of "European integration", irrespective of the misery
which may result, and so must be vigilant in ensuring that the
real CFP of "Equal Access to a Common Resource" is eventually
enforced. This is part of the acquis communautaire, which is binding
on all members. It is not negotiable.
Do not be surprised therefore, when the Commission
next refers to these crucial issues, if the mask has dropped,
and the stark reality of ruin and destruction stares our fishermen
in the face. So much for the Green Paper!
The current review of the "CFP" will
assist in the policy of creating a single federal EU fleet.
The fleet will be managed by the Commission
in line with the single market based on a licensing system operated
by the Commission.
To prevent excess capacity appearing or re-appearing
after capacity is cut Licence fees will be charged for the right
to fish. They will also cover the costs of management and will
help to produce the budget for fleet restructuring and community
assistance. In 1994 Commission issued a CFP booklet in which they
stated that they were "preparing for policies that will follow
when in principle access to almost all the Community's fishing
areas will be open to any EC vessel. One possibility of reconciling
free access to limited resources is the use of licences controlling
the scale of fishing that may take place".
Regionalisation as supported by the House of
Lords is a pretence for delegated management. The Commission will
not devolve any real power to Zonal Committees except those established
to manage fisheries in the six and 12 mile limits where access
will probably continue to be restricted for the benefit of the
indigenous fleets. Whether that will continue in the next review
of the CFP is problematical.
Outwith these areas the restructured EU fleet
will operate within EU and Third Country waters based on a global
Multi Annual strategy where every aspect of the policy is closely
integrated and controlled from Brussels. But probably initially
through the agency of each maritime Member State.
While the principle of Relative Stability may
be used to share the stocks after 2002, the distribution keys
will be adjusted in such a way so as to disadvantage certain national
The Galician Working Document of 12 April 2000
"Towards a Community System of Individual Rights" and
the subsequent announcement by the Spanish Chairman of the European
Parliaments Fisheries Committee regarding access for Spanish fishermen
to the North See are examples of the declared aim to strengthen
the competences of the EU Commission and the centralising of the
Community decision making process.
As the intention is to have an EU fleet the
protection afforded by the Shetland Box will be difficult to retain
for the UK fleet and the local community dependent on this protected
There will be an extension of closed sea areas
ostensibly to aid resource recovery.
Environmental pressure groups will prevent the
introduction of an effective grey seal population management programme
arguing that this is not necessary for a sustainable and responsible
contribution to conservation of fisheries. However the integration
of environmental objectives will continue to lead to restrictions
on fishing effort which combined with the reinforcement of the
MAGP will aid in achieving the purpose of a single EU fleet.
The cod recovery plan for the North Sea is forcing
fishermen to fish in areas they would not fish at this time of
year. The result is wiping out the young haddock, whiting and
The Northern European fleets are being driven
to an uneconomic situation.
That fleet must go to make room for the Southern
and future Members from Eastern Europe. It's all part of the acquis
What happens in 2003?
The Sandeel fishing which is essentially uncontrolled
is being investigated. It will probably be subject to restrictions.
So stock rebuilding starts with the food source given protection.
The Permit system will have a complementary
system of tradable permits. This will satisfy the Banks. They
will force their customers to sell their vessels permits and with
Spain and Holland having the money Danish and British fishermen
are removed from the scene.
Is it too far fetched to suggest that to achieve
the aim of political integration the price doesn't matter. A declining
stock under the banner of conservation is an ideal way to bring
it about. So, destroy the environment, blame the fishermen and
you are beginning to achieve your goal. The problem for the Commission
is that fishermen have proved to be more resilient than they thought
and Mother Nature more fickle. So the conservation measures have
to be more extreme as time runs out to 2003.
25 April 2001