More fishermen than fish!
The EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) expires at the end of this
year. The CFP was a disaster. It failed in its objectives of preserving
fish stocks and sustaining jobs. Too many boats chasing too few fish,
boats without location detectors, inadequate number of patrol boats to
conduct spot checks, reliance on national inspectors to detect fraudulent
claims and logs have all devastated fish stocks in our waters.
During the past 10 years, 66,000 fishermen in Europe have lost
their jobs, and employment in the processing sector has fallen by 14%. In
addition, the numbers of mature fish of commercially important species are
now at half the levels they were 30 years ago. Disposal of dead undersize
fish caught with illegal nets reduced fish stock levels and gave no value
to the fishermen.
The UK fishermen need a fishing policy managed by London, not
Brussels. They need a fixed number of catch days each year with electronic
tracking of boats with multinational inspector teams on patrol boats
monitoring international waters. EU funding should be invested in
conservation and seeding fish to improve stocks. Every effort must be made
to preserve cod (NW waters, Irish Sea, Kattegat and Western waters), hake
(North Sea, Skagerrak, Kattegat), whiting and haddock (Irish Sea) and
Norway Lobster and Sole (Bay of Biscay & Cantabrian Sea).
How is the catch from European seas divided among the EU Member
States? Denmark, with a population of 5 million, has 22%; Spain, with a
population of 40 million, has 18.7%; Britain, with a population of 58
million, has 13.7%; France, with a population of 58 million, has 10.16%
and Netherlands, with a population of 12 million, has 8%. More than 50% of
the total subsidy goes to Spain, Italy 8.8%, Portugal 7.7%, Denmark 5.3%
and Germany, France and UK about 4.8%. What has this subsidy been spent
on? Renewal and modernisation of fleets has soaked up €839bn,
decommissioning €653bn and aquaculture, processing, port facilities and
The biggest single challenge today for the EU is to reduce
drastically the fishing fleets and redeploy the men in other forms of
employment. 40% of fleet capacity must be cut and about 30,000 fishermen
must leave the industry. Incentive payments to leave of €30,000 (£18500)
per crewmember and a grant of €50,000
(£30,000) per fishermen for retraining are suggested. Justification is
based on the fact that many Mediterranean villages rely solely on fishing
Why should the EU subsidise such an industry? We did not receive
any EU grants for investment in our declining towns and cities. Thousands
of people were made redundant when we privatised state-owned industries
and thousands of miners, car workers and others were redeployed at our own
expense. Why should the EU pay up for Spain, Portugal and Italy when they
did not do the same for us? If the GDP in these countries is lower than
ours then it is not that they are poorer but simply that there is a large
parallel economy with people doing second jobs and earning income that is
neither declared nor taxed!
The EU boats fish in waters of poor African and Island nations.
Poor fishermen, without proper boats and nets, cannot fish intensively.
Fish do not stay forever in national waters and these poor countries are
lured into selling fishing rights for money for economic development. For
example, in Mauritania one 14,000-ton trawler will catch in one day what
10,000 fishermen will fish in one year! The EU pays only 10% of the value
of the catch to the Mauritania government. The Spanish and Italian
fishermen do not pay anything for the catch, take the fish for processing
to their countries and make huge profits! The EU does not offer these poor
country fishermen boats, nets or help in fish processing plants to realise
a higher value added.
Clearly, there are more European fishermen than fish in our waters!