The EU’s CFP has been a failure – here are some facts to counter Europhile claims

A Press Release from Fishing for Leave

A News Report from 1991 showed that the fundamentally flawed EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was the cause of over-fishing and bad management.

These failures resulted in decommissioning schemes which scrapped 60% of the British fleet, ripping the heart out of communities.

The failing CFP has driven continual cuts and a scramble to survive with continual consolidation to last man standing.

Family community fishing is driven out of a livelihood and ever increasing monies are spent leasing and buying quota to remain stagnant and survive – it is a circus that fails fish and fishermen.

Contrary to Europhiles the EU did not save stocks but caused the problems which it still fails to address.

The EU caused overfishing through “equal access to a common resource” which stopped Britain exercising her rights to manage her waters and address increasing vessel technology and power.

The EU gave grants to build more powerful boats and incentivised overfishing with minimum market prices which stopped market gluts & low prices halting over supply.

The EUs caused a problem and then implemented Quotas which DO NOT work in mixed fisheries as the video shows fishermen have been saying since 1991!

Fishermen cannot determine what mix of species they catch. Quotas led to illegal landings or mass discarding. Quotas forced fishermen to OVERFISH and catch MORE than necessary to find what they could keep.

Quotas caused inaccurate science and exacerbated the fleet over-capacity caused by the EU. To add insult to injury when quotas were set under EU ‘relative stability shares’ the UK only received 25% of the resources although British waters contributed half the seas and catches.

As the system failed the EU heaped on more rules and bureaucracy to make a bad system work.

To add insult to injury when Quotas were set under EU ‘relative stability shares’ the UK only received 25% of the resources although British waters contributed half the sea areas and catches.

This deprivation of our own management and resources coupled with EU funded over capacity and a failed quota system is what killed over half the British fleet.

Some say this is accidental others think it a deliberate series of pretexts to cull the British fleet to make way for an EU fleet ruled by an EU policy.

Not only do EU member states directly take 60% of the resources from British waters under ‘relative stability shares’ but EU ‘freedom of establishment’ laws allowed EU owned but UK registered flagship companies to buy out family-owned British fisherman struggling under EU rules.

These EU flagships now own around HALF of the 40% slither of our own fish the UK receives as part of the EU heir legal challenge in the Factortame case overturned and forced the government to allow this to happen, proving the British parliament and courts no longer sovereign.

EVEN WORSE!! The incoming EU 2019 discard ban addresses the discard symptom not the quota cause. As of 2019 when vessels exhaust their meagrest quota they must stop fishing and tie up for the rest of the year.

This final drive into a 30 year cull-de-sac of failed management will ruin around another 60% of what’s left of the British fleet.

This is why British fishing cannot be trapped in a transition. Why we must escape the failed CFP ASAP.

It is why post-Brexit the government cannot replicate the same failed EU quota policies to appease vested interests now a minority of powerful vested interests running some fishermen’s federations who wish to keep the failed system and last man standing due to investment driven made in it to survive.

We must have new mixed fishery management based on limiting time at sea in exchange for allowing fishermen to land and record everything they catch in a time at sea/quota hybrid.

This would result in catching less but landing more and generate accurate stock data and management response – currently we are forced to do the opposite of all these.

In addition to this the government should retain the British FQA entitlement system to retain the investment vessel were driven to make in order to survive.

These FQAs should be converted from being entitlement to arbitrary weight-based quotas that force fishermen to discard to Flexible Catch Compositions (FCCs) that set percentages of species fishermen should aim to catch.

If fishermen exceed their FCCs which are based on their track record of catches and investment then they  don’t need to discard or tie up but can swap a value of time equivalent to the value of the “wrong” fish caught.

This means there is no financial incentive to Race-to-Fish for high value species or for species the vessel did not traditionally have entitlement to catch but it means there is the flexibility to land all catches.

The loss of time is paid for by the value of the “wrong” fish meaning fishermen can make a living but needn’t work on catching more fish.

This system would preserve large scale investment in FQAs whilst allowing the flexibility for all fishermen to prosper across all sizes and sectors to rebuild coastal communities.

Crucially fishermen would be catching less fish with no discards and a limit on time at sea whilst generating real time data which allows real time management responding to natural fluctuations.

This would give Britain a unique, world leading discard free management system, allowing Britain to husband her resources sustainably in a system that allows all fishermen and communities to prosper.

WE CANNOT CONTINUE WITH A SYSTEM THAT HAS FAILED SINCE THIS VIDEO WAS MADE IN 1991!!

Support Fishing for Leave’s protests – details, dates and venues (updated 4th June)

Fishing for Leave is staging mass protests with fishermen in ports nationwide against the Transition deal that will see the UK obeying all EU law including the hated Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The demonstrations will be joined by top Tory MPs and Brexiteers.

** A PROVISIONAL DATE OF JUNE 16th HAS BEEN SET FOR “BRIXHAM TRAWLER DAY” IN DEVON> MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW **

The great Brexit fisheries betrayal – it gets worse

Michael Gove and Theresa May between them are letting down our fishing industry when there is no need for them to do so. It seems that our Prime Minister is willing to sacrifice the livelihoods of thousands of men to save her skin after finding herself outplayed by the EU.

The parallels between Mrs May and her predecessor are becoming more apparent by the day. When David Cameron headed for Brussels to re-negotiate our membership in late 2015, it does appear that he genuinely believed that he could wring concessions out of the other 27 member states and come back with a deal which would be acceptable to the majority of the electorate. However, he set off with no well-thought out model in mind of how the UK could function in a semi-detached manner from Brussels – still within the EU but somehow pursuing a different path. Unsurprisingly, he got nowhere, only gaining a few minor cosmetic concessions rightly described by Jacob Rees-Mogg as “thin gruel“. Undeterred, Cameron ploughed on, tried to avoid admitting that his renegotiations had got nowhere, lost the referendum and resigned.

For Cameron’s “renegotiation”, read Theresa May’s “deep and special” relationship. From the start, it was based on wishful thinking with no clear idea either of the details of the relationship nor – and more  importantly – of how the EU works. Optimism that a trade deal would be easy to agree because of regulatory convergence soon dissipated as Michel Barnier repeatedly spelt out the EU’s intention to preserve the single market at all costs. Mrs May may not have realised what being a “third country” meant when she took over as Prime Minister and it is conceivable that the full implications still haven’t dawned on her, but she has been told in no uncertain terms that the EU is not going to give its former member preferential treatment.

What is more, having offered us thoroughly humiliating terms for any transitional period, the EU is already starting to talk tough about a final trading arrangement. All the indications are that in the critical area of fishing, she will roll over once again.

Just to remind ourselves, both Michael Gove and Mrs May consistently stated that we would leave the Common Fisheries Policy on 29th March 2019 and take back control of our Exclusive Economic Zone. However, the transitional deal does no such thing and both the Prime Minister and Mr Gove have been put on the defensive. Even after admitting that he had tamely surrendered on fishing, Mr Gove, questioned by the Lib Dem MP Alastair Carmichael, said:-

“There is a significant prize at the end of the implementation period, and it is important that all of us in every area accept that the implementation period is a necessary step towards securing that prize. For our coastal communities, it is an opportunity to revive economically. For our marine environment, it is an opportunity to be managed sustainably. It is critical that all of us, in the interests of the whole nation, keep our eyes on that prize.”

Other awkward questions have been deflected by saying “But we want to leave the CFP – and indeed the EU;  you don’t” or words to that effect. It is a smokescreen to disguise the betrayal of our fishermen. It is a complete myth that if we can endure 21 months of EU control of fisheries, all will be wonderful at the end of transitional period.  The EU’s new discard ban means that any fishermen who has used up his quota for just one species may not fish again that year. Fishing for Leave has not hid its anger. it intends to “mobilise and show our absolute disgust and heartbreak at our own government capitulating and sacrificing Britain’s fishing grounds and coastal communities to continued EU mismanagement.” Watch this space!

Of course, there is an element of points scoring by the other political parties who are making the most of the government’s discomfort on this subject, but it would be wrong to say that MPs like the SNP’s Brendan O’Hara of Argyll and Bute was acting purely from cynical motives when he said, “I strongly advise the Prime Minister to read SNP fishing policy before she comments on it, as she has it spectacularly wrong. Will she explain to the fishing communities of Argyll and Bute why she has agreed to a deal that keeps them in the CFP without a voice? Is that not the worst possible deal that her Government could have achieved for our fishing communities?”

He is quite correct – it is the worst possible deal. What has been overlooked by many commentators on this subject is the draft exit document contains the following in Article 125 part 4: “Without prejudice to article122(1) , the relative stability keys for the allocation of fishing opportunities referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall be maintained.”

(Paragraph 1 relates to article 43(3) TFEU : The Council, on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt measures on fixing prices, levies, aid and quantitative limitations and on the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities.)

The relative stability keys are an allocation percentage per EU country by species for the sharing out of the quotas. The paragraph above makes it clear that EU can change them, allowing them to take what they like out of UK waters. In that case, it will be of little consequence whether or not the EU  insists on access to UK waters as part of a long-term trade deal. there will be no fishing industry left in our country anyway.

Yet all Mrs May can say in the face of rising cross-party anger about the sell-out of our fishing industry is, by implication, to criticise the fishermen. She said “Although I recognise that not everyone will welcome the continuation of current trading terms for another ​21 months, such an implementation period has been widely welcomed by British business because it is necessary if we are to minimise uncertainty and deliver a smooth and successful Brexit.” Who else could she be referring to when mentioning those who will not welcome 21 months of the current trading terms?  Fishermen can clearly be sacrificed to keep everyone else happy. She also dodged a question from Jeremy Corbyn when he raised the subject as one of a number of questions about the government’s change of  tack over Brexit:-

Our coastal and fishing communities were told by the Environment Secretary only this month: “The Prime Minister has been clear: Britain will leave the CFP”— common fisheries policy— “as of March 2019.” Just a few weeks later, we find out that that will not be the case”, he said. The Prime Minister replied to some of his other comments but studiously ignored the issue of fishing.  

Our friends in Fishing for Leave have many years of campaigning experiences and do not intend to roll over.  Do not be deceived by the support from the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation for this deal. This organisation represents those who have bought quota, not ordinary fishermen, who are absolutely livid.

It is possible that fishing could be the issue which provokes the crisis we have long been expecting. To repeat what we said then,   “it may require some senior heads to roll if the transitional blind alley is to be averted. it is a case of holding on to your hats.” Indeed; a Brexit which throws away what could have been a success story and sacrifices  thousands of UK jobs is no Brexit at all.