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Common Fisheries Policy

Volume 710: debated on Thursday 7 May 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of the European Commission's statement that the common fisheries policy is not working and that 88 per cent of stocks are overfished, they will give notice that they intend to withdraw the United Kingdom from the common fisheries policy. [HL3175]

The European common fisheries policy (CFP) will be reformed by the end of 2012. The European Commission published a Green Paper on reform to the CFP and presented this to the Fisheries Council on 23 April.

The UK Government welcome the Green Paper's call for fundamental reform and much of its analysis of the problems with Community fish stocks. However, the solution is not to withdraw from the CFP—fish stocks moving across Community waters require a common approach—but to build on and improve it.

The UK is considering its response to the Green Paper, but we need a reformed CFP to focus more effectively on achieving sustainable fisheries and to devolve appropriate powers and responsibilities to those involved in the industry. We need more emphasis on long-term planning supported by robust science and better integrated fisheries and marine conservation policies, and to tackle the waste of dead fish being thrown back in the sea while enabling fishermen to land more fish while catching less.