The Common Fisheries Policy Part 5: Spanish Accession

When the original six member states produced the fisheries regulation in 1970 that created the Common Fisheries Policy, they must have thought they had a winner. Not only did they think they would do well out of the policy, but it was what the founding fathers wanted, creating community waters and in due course a community fleet. It was the start of the eradication of the Nation State. At that period of time it was already acknowledged a 200 mile/median line fishing zone was coming, as it did by 1976 through an Act of Parliament.

The big disappointment for the then EEC was the rejection of membership by the Norwegian people, who if they had joined, would have contributed a healthy large marine resource with not so much fishing capacity. Also if Norway had joined in due course, so might Iceland. The problem for Norway was fisheries, as it is for Iceland.

When the preparation was taking place for the management system to be put in place after the first ten- year derogation ran out, often mistakenly called the CFP, it was established that Spain, whose application was filed in 1977, would join. Indeed, along with Portugal it did join in 1986, bringing a massive fishing capacity with little resource, tipping the capacity to resource ratio the wrong way.Things were further complicated by Greenland leaving the then EEC in 1985, another loss of resource and again, because of fishing.

Britain tried to secure a 50 mile exclusive fishing zone, and later attempted to seek a higher percentage share of the quota, but the other Member States said, “no, go and read the Treaties” – something the British are not good at.

The Accession of Spain and Portugal sailed through our Parliament during 1985, without hardly any questions being asked, with both Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe in the House of Commons and the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth office in the Lords, Baroness Young saying the same thing, namely:-

“Fisheries was one of the most difficult issues to be negotiated and among the last to be settled. The Spanish fleet is presently the fifth largest in the world. After Spain’s accession, the Community fleet as a whole will be the world’s second largest. It was therefore essential in the negotiations to protect limited stocks and maintain the balance of existing fishing opportunities under the Common Fisheries Policy, only so recently agreed. The outcome was broadly satisfactory. Spain and Portugal are incorporated into the common fisheries policy for its duration. But, with certain limited exceptions, Spanish and Portuguese access to EC waters is limited to those areas and species to which they currently have access. The number of Spanish and Portuguese vessels fishing in EC waters will continue to be strictly controlled and subject to strict reporting and monitoring requirements. The arrangements thus do not affect the effective fishing opportunities of United Kingdom fishermen.”

This statement was taken at face value and not challenged. It was, in the long term, totally wrong, even if in the short term it was correct, but when the transitional arrangements ran out, Spain would get her rights as stated in her Accession Treaty to which Britain had previously agreed. When a new member brings in massive capacity, with little resource, it is going to cause tremendous problems, and as it is clearly stated there can be no increase in fishing effort in Community waters, such a combination can only mean one thing, as Ruth Albuquerque clearly said in Shetland, some fishermen had to go to make room – British ones.

The truth did not come out, until a decade later, when the then MP for Ludlow, Christopher Gill asked in November 1995 a parliamentary written question: “Does the percentage share-out allocated to each member state of the EU for each of the fish stocks concerned vary when a new member state is fully integrated into the CFP?”

The answer came back from Fisheries Minister Tony Baldry, a month after his mauling by Tom Hay in the Carlton Club, He said he would write to the Hon. Member and thankfully the answer was printed in Fishing News in December 1995:-

“Member states percentage do indeed vary in those stocks which are affected by the accession of new member states and that it is true to say that the UK’s quotas as a proportion of total community quota decreased when Spanish quota were added to the community total.”

Yet a few months previously, in September 1995, newly appointed Scottish Fisheries Minister Raymond Robertson, had been lambasting the SBF campaign, saying leaving the CFP is wrong, what we want is reform of the fisheries policy and reform of the CFP will really happen.

Genuine reform can only be implemented by unanimous agreement. Meanwhile, the integration process rolls onwards and the obliteration of the British fishing fleet continues, in a most devious manner.

The deviousness all came from the British side; none of it was Spain’s fault or responsibility. The situation and procedure were laid down in the Spanish and Portuguese Accession Treaties and the relevant Regulations. Admittedly. these are not the easiest documents to follow, but everything is there. Sadly throughout our association with the EEC/EU, it has been British officials and politicians who have not told the truth, but rather, peddlied deception.

William Hague, the first of three consecutive Conservative Leaders who endorsed the policy of National control of Fisheries, finished his October 1999 conference speech by stating:-

“And so I say to the people of Britain: if you believe that our country is unique in the world but is in danger of losing its identity; if you believe that Britain is a place where you should be rewarded for doing the right thing, but now you are penalised for it; if you believe in Britain as a healthy democracy, but that the standards of democracy are now being tarnished and diminished; if you believe in Britain as a country where the law is enforced and respected, but that now it is not respected enough; if you believe in Britain as a country that will work with its neighbours but never submit to being governed by anyone else; if you believe in an independent Britain. Then come with me, and I will give you back your country.”

This is the same William Hague who has recently (December 2015) said he would vote to stay in the EU, and this now explains why he would never say exactly how he would implement National control. What he said, and what he intended doing were opposites.

Even now the present Westminster Fisheries Minister George Eustice MP states he is a “strong eurosceptic”, who is pleased with his Ministry’s so called “CFP reform”. yet he happily hands the British people’s resource to an outside source – the European Union, He is another minister who doesn’t understand what the CFP is and muddles it up with a political management system, which he is promoting. He is actually proud of it and its target of achieving full integration. Is this former UKIP member a Eurosceptic ? I think not; rather another Hague.

With this historic record of deception by senior politicians and Civil Servants how can you trust anything Cameron, his associates or the Civil Servants will tell us over the next 20 months? If this tale of betrayal has not been bad enough, the next stage in the project to get rid of the British fleet without the British public understanding what was happening was pure evil.

This will be revealed in Part 6.

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    • John Petley
      John PetleyReply

      Watch this space! CIB is looking to produce a booklet based on these pieces by John Ashworth as the information he has provided is so damning. Even for those people who don’t get worked up about fishing, if the ministers and civil servants have acted in such an appalling manner with regards one aspect of our relationship with the EU (i.e., fisheries), it is hardly to be expected that other ministers and civil servants dealing with other aspects of our relationship with the EU have been angelic and that fisheries is some sort of aberration. If we can show that fisheries is typical of the behaviour of politicians and civil servants when it comes to the EU, we will have a very powerful weapon with which to undermine Cameron and his sham renegotiation.

  1. Gordon WebsterReply

    Keep it coming, it confirms everything I have read elsewhere. Add all of John’s articles to evidence from “The War State,” by Michael Swanson, and from others, and we know that the American State Department which is desperate to stay in and has millions to give away, via the CIA, and we can see how politicians are easily bought – like Hague. Brussels is also good at splashing the cash in the form of ‘soft loans’ to friends such as The BBC and Politicians, The only way this will stop, and Britain will be rebuilt, is by getting out.

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