EU fisheries policy condemned as "total failure"

UK parliamentarians deem coming reform proposal "last chance" for sustainable fisheries

The 17-year-old EU Common fisheries policy (CFP) is "totally failing to achieve its fundamental objective" of matching fishing effort and resources, a committee of British parliamentarians complained today. A report from the House of Lords European Union committee urges fisheries ministers to show more political courage to prevent collapse of both stocks and the fishing industry.

Using strong language, the committee's report says that planned reforms to the CFP must introduce an overriding objective to achieve sustainable development in the sector. It also concludes that reductions in fishing capacity and effort will require "considerably more Commission funding...to ease the transition for fishing communities facing loss of their traditional activities".

The last point echoes statements made recently by environmental group WWF, which said that measures to protect fish stocks would be of no use unless adequate funding was introduced to ensure that fishermen are able to reduce effort.

The report comes as European fishing industry representatives, EU member state officials and the European Commission try to negotiate the bloc's first-ever fish species recovery plan.

Follow Up:
UK House of Lords, tel: +44 20 72 19 31 07; "Unsustainable fishing: What is to become of the Common Fisheries Policy?" report; WWF UK, tel: + 44 14 83 426 444.

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