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Much Work Still to be Done on Common Fisheries Policy

27 November 2012

SCOTLAND, UK - The reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy, currently being considered in the European Parliament, are critical for Scotland’s fishing industry.

The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee (RACCE) has taken evidence from two Scottish MEPs who have a key role in the progress of the reforms, as they sit on the influential European Parliament Fisheries Committee. Later this year that Committee will vote on a report which will form the basis of the European Parliament’s opinion on the reforms. Following the Lisbon Treaty the Parliament has a much enhanced role in EU fisheries law, and is co-legislator with the Council of the European Union.

The RACCE Committee heard about progress in vital areas such as regionalisation of decision making, the proposed discard ban, transferable fishing concessions, and maximum sustainable yield.

Convener of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee Rob Gibson MSP said: “The reform of Common Fisheries Policy is a major issue for Scotland’s fishing industry and the many communities across Scotland that the industry supports. This is a once in a generation opportunity to finally put right a policy which has been failing for many years. With over 2,500 amendments to the policy already tabled by MEPs on the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, this is complex process. Our Committee wanted to get to the heart of the issues that matter for Scotland’s fleet.

“It is vital that the European Parliament and the Council can together deliver the sort of changes, in the context of sustainable development, that are so desperately required – meaningful regionalisation which results in decentralisation of decision making to those best placed to do so; a ban on discards that does not end up penalising our fleet in other ways; and ensuring that there is no mandatory system of transferable fishing concessions, which could have a devastating effect on the industry in Scotland.”

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