• A report on the failings of the Common Fisheries Policy, compiled by the EU’s own Court of Auditors was formally released yesterday to MEP’s in the Budgetary Control Committee. I have been tasked with guiding the report through Parliament.
In short, the report states that despite the huge amounts of taxpayers cash spent on the policy:
• 1.7 billion euros have been wasted since 2002 on vessel decommissioning with no tangible results
• 90% of fish stocks are over fished, 30% of these over safe biological limits
• 100,000 jobs have been lost in fishing to date
• The future sustainability of fishing in the EU cannot be guaranteed at all.
• The CFP has failed to address the problems being faced, has failed to properly update fishing registers and has failed to implement an effective monitoring system.
The findings are a savage indictment of a failed policy. It underlines what we all know: that the CFP has been an unmitigated disaster.
Since its creation it has replaced sound national policies that preserved stocks and set boundaries, to an expensive and wasteful free for all controlled by eurocrats in Brussels who, according to this report, seem to know nothing about fishing.
The discards fiasco – an abhorrent and sinful waste of fish life – is a direct consequence of this lack of knowledge at EU level. Throwing dead but perfectly healthy and edible fish back into the sea because of daft quota rules is testament again to this policy’s failure.
Even the Commissioner responsible had the good grace to admit recently that the CFP is not working and wants to reform the whole thing. The difficulty for me and the many fishermen I have spoken to is that we have zero faith that the very same people who created this shambles are in a position to offer sensible and workable changes.
The only way to save our dwindling industry and above all ensure sustainability of stocks is to take power back from Brussels and return it to our government. If this report doesn’t make the government sit up and finally take notice then I fear, like the authors of the report do, that there won’t be any fishing industry left.