Davies: Final agreement reached on rebuilding Europe’s fish stocks

Picture shows Matthias Groote MEP, Chair of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament (left) with Chris Davies MEP (right) and Bill the Cod.

Major reforms aimed at rebuilding Europe’s depleted fish stocks have been agreed by MEPs meeting in Strasbourg today.The new EU Common Fisheries Policy will make it a legal requirement to set quotas for fish catches using maximum sustainable yields, with the aim of rebuilding fish stocks by 2020. It requires long-term management plans to be prepared for every fishery and devolves day-to-day decisions about fishing practice from Brussels to regional bodies.  A ban on the discard of fish will be phased in from 2015.

Liberal Democrat European Environment spokesman Chris Davies MEP, who formed the cross-party ‘Fish for the Future’ group, claimed the new policy demonstrated the importance of Britain playing a constructive role in Europe to achieve reform.

He said: “For too long decisions were made about fishing policy that ignored scientific advice, with the result that Europe now has to import two thirds of the fish we eat. Continue reading

Davies: No fishy EU subsidies for fleet renewal

MEPs in Strasbourg today rejected calls for EU subsidies to be paid for building new fishing boats.

The European Parliament voted to support changes to the Common Fisheries Policy intended to curb overfishing and rebuild fish stocks.

The European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will provide €6 billion towards the fishing industry between 2014 and 2020. MEPs approved payment of subsidies to help fishermen adjust to change but not to catch more fish.

Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies, founder of the cross-party campaign group ‘Fish for the Future’, welcomed the decision as proof that the EU was serious about improving its fisheries policy.

“We still have too many boats chasing too few fish, so to use public money to pay for building new boats would only make the problem worse.

“Grants of this kind were halted nearly a decade ago, when 90% of the money was going to France, Spain and Portugal.  To have reinstated them would have been a crazy step backwards.” Continue reading

Lyon: Breakthrough deal on CAP

George Lyon MEPUK Lib Dem MEP George Lyon has welcomed the deal on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as a big step in the right direction, but stressed that Lib Dem MEPs would have liked to go further in the area of market liberalisation.

Commenting after the breakthrough deal between the European Parliuament and Member States was announced, George Lyon MEP (UK, Lib Dem), who negotiated the CAP reform on behalf of the ALDE Group, commented:

“In the Lyon report adopted by the Parliament back in 2010, I said that sustainability had to be at the heart of the new CAP if we are to address the huge challenges of a doubling of demand for food while at the same time reducing the use of scarce resources. Continue reading

Davies: Irish Presidency accused of deceiving MEPs

Picture shows Matthias Groote MEP, Chair of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament (left) with Chris Davies MEP (right) and Bill the Cod.

The Irish Presidency will this evening be accused of deceiving MEPs over an issue key to reform Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy.

The preparation of long term management plans for every fishery is seen as crucial to the rebuilding of depleted fish stocks.

But since 2009, EU governments have blocked negotiations on their preparation in an argument with the European Parliament over the terms of the Lisbon Treaty.

Ministers say that governments have the right to set annual quotas, but MEPs say the treaty gives them the power to set guidelines.

MEPs argue that the Ministers have in the past been responsible for allowing over-fishing and the decline in stocks.

Chris Davies, a British MEP who founded the cross-party Fish for the Future group, has been amongst those pressing for negotiations. Continue reading

Lyon: New test results underline need for EU-wide action on horsemeat scandal

UK Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon has today warned that addressing the horse meat scandal will require an EU-wide solution.

Mr Lyon, a member of the EU Agriculture Committee, was commenting after the EU Commission published the result of testing which found the presence of horse DNA in almost 5% of beef samples taken from across the continent. He said: 

‘What these test results underline clearly is that this is an EU-wide problem that demands an EU-wide solution. Continue reading

BEARDER: Ban pesticides which could harm bees

Catherine Bearder MEP - South East EnglandThe Government has been branded “beyond complacent” after it stalled on banning chemicals which could damage bees.

Catherine Bearder, a Lib Dem MEP for the South East of England, is backing calls to suspend the use of neonicotinoids amid fears of the impact on the bee population.

Members of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee have demanded a moratorium on use of the chemicals.

However, the UK Government is still unconvinced and is asking the European Commission to launch a major study to settle the debate.

But Catherine said: “This is beyond complacent. Britain cannot continue to flap around on the issue. We all know how important bees are to our biodiversity. Continue reading

Davies: EU fishing deal – not ambitious enough

Fish Fight CampaignSenior UK Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, founder and secretary of the cross-party ‘Fish for the Future’ group in the European Parliament, described last night’s deal between fisheries ministers as progress only of the most limited kind.  He warned that governments would seek to backslide even on the arrangements that had been agreed.

Commenting on the Council conclusions after last night’s negotiations on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, Chris Davies said:

“We are half way through the process of trying to reform the Common Fisheries Policy, and judging from what has been announced by the ministers there is a great deal still to be done.

“For governments to say that we should stop overfishing but not for another eight years is little short of madness. Continue reading

Lyon – New threat over ATV use

George Lyon MEPGeorge Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, has warned that European Council and Parliament negotiations which threaten to limit the top speed of functional All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) to 40kmph will dramatically reduce their effectiveness when used for daily stock work on farms.

George has been campaigning against proposals that would have forced manufacturers to build farm ATVS to an on-road specification leading to a significant increase in costs and severely limiting their effectiveness for farmers. Continue reading

Bennion: to patent or not to patent biological processes?

Phil Bennion MEP explains why Lib Dems in the Parliament today voted against a resolution on the patenting of essential biological processes. He stressed that the resolution did not strike the right balance between the right of breeders and the need to patent innovative techniques. He explained that Lib Dems are not in favour of patenting plants or natural processes in themselves, but instead support the need to patent breeding techniques in order to stimulate innovation.

Lyon: Member States promise no illegal eggs by year end

George Lyon MEPAt a meeting of the European Agriculture Committee, Commissioner John Dalli announced that all Member States had promised that they would be compliant with the ban on battery cages by the end of this year.

He also said that 16 Member States now expected to be compliant with the sow stall ban by the end of this year.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland George Lyon said: Continue reading