LIST OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
87. We now bring together the conclusions and recommendations
which we have highlighted in bold type in the preceding Chapters.
We then end with a synthesis of our final conclusions.
(a) The reformed CFP is the result of over four
years of analysis and consultation, but it has in our view been
emasculated by the back-sliding compromises made by the Council
(b) We welcome the stronger commitment in the
new basic Regulation to protection of the marine environment (paragraph
(c) Existing international research programmes
in this area coordinated by the International Council for the
Exploration of the Sea (ICES) need to be enhanced, and such work
could and should be given a much higher priority, compared with
routine stock assessments. This is long-term research, and while
the results may not be available for some time yet, it needs to
be carried out with much more urgency than it has been hitherto
(d) We are dismayed that, as we complete this
Report, no firm recovery plans for key stocks, in particular cod
and hake, are yet in place, despite having been first suggested
by the Commission over a year ago. At the beginning of April 2003
the Commission promised a "definitive cod recovery plan"
in a "few weeks' time". This envisaged adoption by the
Council no earlier than September 2003. We regard this as quite
unacceptable and urge the Government to press for the establishment
of appropriate recovery plans as a matter of extreme urgency (paragraph
(e) We adhere to that opinion, even though the
Commission has at last published its proposals (May 2003) for
a long-term cod recovery plan. Given our views on the vital importance
of effort controls and capacity reduction, we welcome these elements
of the Commission's proposals. However, in the light of the fate
of the Commission's December 2001 proposals, we remain pessimistic
thatwithout dedicated commitment by the UK Government and
its supporters in the Councilthese new proposals may be
the next victims of short-term self-interest and that they will
take effect too late (Box 1).
(f) We strongly endorse the development of recovery
and management plans, based on the precautionary and ecosystem-based
approaches to the maximum extent possible (paragraph 20).
(g) Greater use could and should be made in future
of alternative direct conservation measures (such as control of
fishing effort), as well as appropriate technical conservation
measures (mesh size limits, closed areas, closed seasons etc).
We urge the Government to press the Commission, and to argue in
Council, for the implementation as a matter of urgency of a properly
designed and well-considered system of effort control, to work
alongside TACs and quotas wherever possible, but especially where
precautionary TACs are in force (paragraph 30).
(h) The failure of the EU institutions to deal
effectively with the serious and persistent problem of "technology
creep" is in our view further evidence of the lack of any
real political will to address the major problems of fisheries
management in Europe (paragraph 33).
(i) Another opportunity to legislate for a serious
downsizing of the European fleet has been missed. We urge the
Government to press the fundamental need for capacity reduction,
as well as effective measures to deal with "technology creep",
in future negotiations over recovery and management plans (paragraph
(j) There seems to be no substantial reason why
satellite monitoring should not be extended to all licensed fishing
vessels in the next five years or so. Similarly we consider that
the technology now exists for direct electronic reporting of the
records of fishing activity on board to be made obligatory in
the near future (paragraph 39).
(k) We welcome the extended use of satellite
and electronic tracking provided for in the new Regulation, which
is likely to prove extremely valuable to national enforcement
authorities. We urge the Government to pursue its extension to
all licensed fishing vessels over 10m in length by 2005 or very
soon thereafter as a high priority (paragraph 40).
(l) We are encouraged by the Council's acceptance
of the need to strengthen co-operation between Member States but
believe that a common inspection authority, as envisaged in the
Commission's "Roadmap", will eventually be required
to achieve an equitable system (paragraph 44).
(m) Operational management could and should be
devolved to appropriately constituted non-political Regional Advisory
Councils (RACs). We are encouraged by the inclusion of provisions
for RACs in the new basic CFP Regulation. It is of vital importance
that these Councils be established as a matter of considerable
urgency (paragraph 49).
(n) It is deeply regrettable that the Commission's
proposals for terminating aid for new construction were weakened
at the December 2002 Council. We deplore the fact that funds will
continue to available for this purpose until end of 2004. We regard
this as further evidence of the continuing lack of political will
to support genuine reform of the CFP (paragraph 52).
(o) We think that it is entirely wrong that EU
taxpayers should continue to finance the over-exploitation of
the fish stocks, when this very practice is likely to lead to
the future collapse of the industry (paragraph 53).
(p) We strongly support the initiatives taken
by the Commission to open a dialogue on the long-term economic
management of the fisheries. Conservation measures will not work
as long as fishermen's livelihoods depend on the over-exploitation
of fish stocks. Indeed, it is highly unlikely that there will
be sustainable fisheries in Europe until fishermen have strong
economic incentives to protect the stocks (paragraph 66).
(q) We are concerned that important decisions
on fisheries management and long-term planning are taken in the
Council and within the Commission without rigorous economic (as
distinct from scientific) advice. We urge the UK Government and
the EU institutions to commit resources to the comprehensive gathering
of economic data on the fisheries and making this information
widely available (paragraph 70).
(r) If the EUCommission and Member Statesis
unprepared in the short term to accept the employment implications
of an access or property based management system, it follows that
some other economic measure is required to allow the most vulnerable
stocks to recover (paragraph 72).
(s) We recognise that the Fontainebleau Agreement
has wider implications than fisheries, but we would regard it
as unfortunate if, because of the particular application of the
Agreement to FIFG, opportunities are being missed for using FIFG
funding for purposes which contribute to the diversification of
local economies currently dependent on fishing and thereby to
reductions in fishing effort. We recommend that the UK Government
review the position in relation to assistance for fisheries communities.
(t) Transitional aid needs to be linked to a
recovery plan with a clearly stated timetable for stock recovery.
If stocks fail to recover within that period further, permanent,
decommissioning will become necessary. Recovery plans will first
need to be agreed to at the Council before individual Member States
can commit funding (paragraph 83).
(u) Transitional aid would need to be monitored
closely: it must not be allowed to contribute to increased capacity
(v) Some form of economic intervention in fisheries
management is vital. It is extremely important to find ways of
supporting the development of alternative employment opportunities
in areas affected by long-term decline of the fishing industry.
Preferably, for reasons of social cohesion, these should be in
the marine or marine-related sectors. We therefore urge the Government
to promote the diversification of the economies of coastal communities
and strongly support the Commission's initiative to open up a
dialogue on the possibility of decoupling the FIFG from fisheries
in the next budget in favour of broader support for coastal communities