Ahead of a crucial vote on the Common Fisheries Policy, Labour has demanded the government sticks to its promise to deliver an ecologically and economically sustainable package of reforms.
Labour backed new reforms – including measures to end the wasteful practice of discarding fish, new commitments to restore fish stock to sustainable levels, and moves towards greater regionalisation of fisheries policy – which were agreed at a full session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg earlier this month.
With the fear that a number of EU member states may yet block the reforms at the upcoming Council of Ministers vote, Labour have called on the government to stick to its prior commitments and drive through desperately needed change.
Speaking today, Labour’s Shadow Fisheries Minister, Tom Harris said: “This month the European Parliament took a landmark step in addressing the failings of the past. Richard Benyon, the fisheries Minister, must now be good to his word and deliver much needed reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
“For too long the CFP has been failing our fisheries, forcing fishermen to dump over a million tons of discarded fish into our seas and pushing smaller sustainable fisherman into the financial mire. This is a shocking waste, which has rightly caused outrage amongst the UK public.
“As one of the world’s great maritime nations Britain should be leading the agenda for reform, not taking a back seat. The government must build alliances with the other 27 member states to enact change – with more than 60 per cent of fish stocks overfished and many fishermen struggle to make ends meet, we cannot go on as we are.”