Duncan fury as SNP & UKIP Groups combine to force early implementation of fish discard ban
Ian Duncan has reacted with fury over a decision taken today in the European Parliament that will force all demersal fish, including cod, to be landed from the 1st January 2016.
Earlier this year a deal was negotiated which exempted cod from the 'discard ban' until January 2017. However, this afternoon a majority of the Fisheries Committee Coordinators, including the representatives of the UKIP and the SNP Groups, voted to delay the implementation of the ‘delegated act’ that would have allowed the phased implementation of the discard ban. The phased approach, previously agreed by all parties, would have meant that demersal fishermen would not have had to land potential 'choke species' such as cod and hake until 2017 or 2018.
Due to a minor objection over the time period for amendment, both the EFDD (UKIP) and the Greens/EFA (SNP) Groups joined with other parties to push any decision on phased implementation to February 2016. The consequence is that from 1 January 2016, by law, all demersal fish caught at sea will have to be landed.
Ian’s Group, the ECR, voted to allow the phased implementation, arguing that the livelihood of fishermen was more important than petty EU bureaucracy.
Commenting Ian said:
‘I am furious that a decision of the Fisheries Committee (including the representatives of the groups to which the SNP and UKIP belong) to cancel the phased approach of the discard ban means that cod will now be subject to the full ban from 1st January. This is madness. Fishermen had been led to believe that cod would be included in the scope of the ban only from 1 January 2017. They now have less than three weeks to prepare for the full force of the ban for all species.
'The legal basis of the whole demersal discard ban is up in the air. Unless the political parties that caused the problem get their act together fast, the impact on Scottish fishermen could be seismic.
'The SNP and UKIP claim to be standing up for Scottish and British fishermen. By allowing representatives of their group to vote in this way, they are condemning fishermen to a bleak Christmas and a challenging New Year.’