EU proposals for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Contents

10  Conclusion

104.  We encourage Defra to consult fully with the Devolved Administrations to determine fishing policy. The fishing industry are "vitally interested that the UK as a member state acts as just that: as a joined up member state".[232] The interests of the UK's fishing industry are best served by one strong voice in Brussels. Defra and the Devolved Administrations should seek to present a united front in negotiations with the EU over fishing policy.

105.  Our report focuses primarily on technical issues, but at its heart is a fundamental question about the nature of the marine ecosystems and coastal communities that we want to leave to future generations. We fully support Commissioner Damanaki in her ambition that the future CFP creates the right conditions for sustainable exploitation of marine resources.

106.  However, we are concerned that the Commission is embarking on this journey without a clear and workable plan for achieving its aims, without the scientific data needed to back these up, and before building political will and grassroots support. There is a risk that headline-chasing in response to pressures from environmental campaigners will further damage our coastal communities without actually doing any good for fish stocks.

107.  The essential first step is to improve the CFP's governance through a more ambitious programme of decentralisation. We welcome the UK's positive relationship with other northern fishing nations and encourage stronger ties with the southern Member States to build a consensus around decentralisation. We hope that our colleagues in the European Parliament will use their new powers under co-decision to deliver a more effective CFP that recognises the need to pass power back to local levels. We call on Defra to show leadership in Brussels to ensure that the future CFP delivers for the fish, the fishermen, and the coastal communities that depend on them.

232   Q 84 Back

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Prepared 24 February 2012