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North Sea to be Test for EU Fishing Policy

01 June 2012

EU - Last Friday, the fishing industry, scientists, NGOs and policy makers unanimously agreed that the North Sea should be used as a testing ground for exploring how European countries can reclaim more control from Brussels over their fisheries.

Organised by GAP2, the meeting brought together groups from Belgium, the UK, Netherlands and Denmark with disparate and often conflicting interests in the North Sea‘s fisheries. Their purpose was to thrash out the practicalities of one of the most controversial proposals of the EU Common Fisheries Policy reform package – “regionalisation”.

Steve Mackinson, fisheries scientist and GAP2 coordinator said: “If we want sustainable fisheries, we need to involve the full range of fishermen, scientists and policy makers in deciding how and what we fish. Ending the practice of all fisheries management decisions being made centrally in Brussels is one way we can achieve this. But a lack of answers about how this would work in practice may leave us with the failing status quo.”

“So we need people who live, work and breathe fisheries to work together, and find answers which still make sense when fishermen take them to sea.”

Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations said: “Missing the boat in putting an end to Brussels’ micromanagement of our fisheries is not an option.

"Europe’s fisheries need effective, flexible regional management, involving managers, stakeholders and scientists – and using the North Sea basin as a pilot for regionalisation would give us a set of practical recommendations, granting meaning to the Common Fisheries Policy reform.”

The fishing industry, policy makers and scientist also agreed on a range of other issues, from the need for greater political will behind regionalisation, to the need for better understanding about how such changes would be funded by the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund.

TheFishSite News Desk

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