Fishermen want CFP reform

FISHERMEN AND Greenpeace have joined together in an unlikely alliance to lobby for changes to the Common Fisheries Policy.


Together they have produced the ‘manifesto for fair fisheries’, a joint declaration between the environmental group, UK Fishermen’s Associations, fishermen and the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association, which represents small-scale fishermen.


The manifesto spotlights the ecological, economic and social pitfalls of the current fisheries policy, which has favoured the larger fishing fleets and, they claim, resulted in 70% of Europe’s fishing grounds being overfished.


The manifesto urges restaurateurs, retailers, the UK Government and “all those for whom fish is an integral part of life” to show support for local, sustainable, coastal fishermen.


On its website, Greenpeace highlights the fact that despite representing 77% of the UK fishing fleet, small-scale boats receive only 4% of the fishing quota. “Our local fishermen in Cornwall, East Sussex, Devon and other coastal communities around the UK are in real danger of losing their livelihoods.”


The declaration suggests that this is the “last chance” to deliver a fisheries policy that will ensure social, environmental and economic benefits.


It reads: “The EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has not worked and is not working for fish, fishermen, the marine environment, coastal communities, or consumers. The system is broken and the 2012 reform process is our best, last chance to fix it.


“The CFP favours the most influential parts of the European fishing industry, often those operating with the highest environmental impact and?least benefit to society. Meanwhile, responsible fishermen, who use sustainable methods, are in real danger of losing their livelihoods. The UK’s maritime heritage is at stake.”


The CFP is undergoing reform at a European level. The proposals include ending the policy of discarding dead fish caught by accident under the quota system. However, any changes to the system must be agreed by the European Parliament. Voting is expected to take place in October and November, so lobbying is expected to intensify in the coming months.