WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Like almost anything connected with the EU, the CFP is immensely complicated. To make matters worse it has changed many times in its scope and in the way it dictates what member states can do.
The CFP introduced quotas known as the Total Allowable Catch (TAC). This has resulted in appalling waste, with fishermen throwing catches back into the sea when they went over their TAC quota.
In 1991 the European Court of Justice (CJEU) overruled a decision in the British courts and legalized the practice of quota hopping.
This allowed national fleets – most notably the Spanish – to register their boats in other member states to avoid fishing restrictions. The Spanish quickly bought up the quotas of member states who had no need of them. This resulted in yet another gross distortion of the market. The losers of course were the British, who played by the rules.
The first Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was formulated in the Treaty of Rome and it has been modified many times since. The original idea was to make the fishing grounds of EU member states a common resource for all members. The CFP is now presented as having the aim of conservation – protecting the fish stocks and the marine environment.
As with so many things related to the EU, the theory has been far removed from the reality it has produced.
As always, the facts come from official sources. In this case we were also able to access archived data from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and its antecedents going back many years. The MMO is the UK government agency in charge and it provides figures to the EU. We also researched information from many other official sources.
For the UK with its long tradition of its coastal communities earning a living from the sea, the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy has been little short of a disaster.
Massive reductions in the UK’s fishing fleet, huge job losses, coastal communities transformed and depressed, and the marine environment threatened.
On top of this the UK, with some of the richest fishing waters in the world and a proud history of being a maritime nation, has been reduced to being a net importer of fish.
In what universe can anyone imagine the UK being a net importer of fish? Just look at the map. Britain is an island for goodness’ sake.
It is said that the Chancellor Philip Hammond is looking at the UK’s fishing industry in terms of numbers. It may be true that the UK’s fishing fleet doesn’t currently generate an enormous income compared to, say, the car industry, but that is precisely why it needs to have the freedom it once enjoyed.
In addition he may wish to reflect on the fact that because of the UK’s forced adherence to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy over so many years, the net trade imbalance in fish in 2016 was over £1.4 billion, in the EU’s favour.
It is this site’s policy to campaign for the complete extrication of the UK from the Common Fisheries Policy, with no ‘fudges’ or ‘compromises’. This is one of the many red lines involved in something called ‘Leaving the EU’ which the majority of the British people voted for in 2016.
Sources: Marine Management Organisation | DEFRA | EU Commission | EU Parliament | Archives of Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods 07.20am, 10 Mar 2018
Name: Brexiteer, Braintree, Essex Date/Time: 10 Mar 2018, 6.12pm
Message: Sovereignty, sovereignty, sovereignty. The three most important aims of leaving the EU. The sovereign UK Parliament 650 MP’s elected by us the UK electorate to make the laws that govern and that we live by. The sovereign Parliament that can decide who and what the access to the UK’s sovereign waters should be. I hope the EU mandarins, British remoaner MP’s, and civil servants can understand that that’s what we voted for. Now just get on and deliver.
Name: Vanessa, Southern England Date/Time: 10 Mar 2018, 10.56am
Message: This is how Remainers are betraying Brexit – drip by drip. Even if Theresa May is genuine in trying to deliver Brexit, as a Remainer she cannot understand the spirit of Brexit and she clearly has no vision for the future of Britain post-Brexit. Like all Remainers, she sees life outside the EU as being just that: life outside the EU, not life lived freely in the rest of the world. That’s why she can give away large chunks of the autonomy we voted for without understanding their importance.