CONSERVATIVE MEP FOR SCOTLAND

Tory MEP Urges Commission to Halt North Sea Fishing Plans After Brexit

The European Commission has been urged to postpone a fisheries management plan for the North Sea, given the UK will no longer be bound by EU rules once the Brexit process has concluded.

05.09.2016.

The European Commission has been urged to postpone a fisheries management plan for the North Sea, given the UK will no longer be bound by EU rules once the Brexit process has concluded.

Conservative MEP Ian Duncan has written to the EU fisheries commissioner Karmenu Vella, highlighting the “significant implications” for skippers landing fish worth hundreds of millions of pounds at Scottish ports every year.

Members of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee are anticipating a European Commission proposal for a multi-annual plan on the North Sea later this month. The plan is intended to give long-term stability in setting future catches, and will support the implementation of the discard ban and further regionalised management.

Dr Duncan writes,

“While such a plan may have been sensible for the UK as a member of the EU, the departure of the UK will mean some 80% of the North Sea basin will lie outwith EU waters. The development of such a plan is, therefore, questionable. I am calling on the commission to postpone the publication of its North Sea fisheries management plan, pending greater clarity on the likely fisheries settlement between the UK and the EU.

"If MEPs and (European) Council working groups were to begin work on the plan at this stage, it would only add to the increasing uncertainty for fishermen and the fishing industry both within and outwith the EU.”

He added,

“I suggest that work on the proposed multi-annual plan for western waters should also be postponed, for the same reason. In the future, it is likely that total allowable catches for North Sea species will be settled either in a series of bilateral negotiations – UK/EU, Norway/EU and UK/Norway – or in a trilateral negotiation between the three fishing powers. Whilst in the short-term management measures in EU and British waters may remain similar, this almost certainly will not remain the case.

"It would, therefore, be sensible for the commission to consider how the EU would bring its management measures into conformity with the approach in the bulk of the North Sea. Such an issue should be given early consideration by the parliament’s fisheries committee, and I will be writing separately to its chairman, Alain Cadec, to raise this matter.”

 

Notes to editors

1. Ian Duncan is the Conservative MEP for Scotland, and Fisheries Spokesman in the European Parliament.

2. Karmenu Vella is the European Commissioner responsible for Fisheries. http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/vella_en