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

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

Davies: Ban Discards

An agreement between ministers to curb the discard of fish has been criticised by a local Euro-MP for leaving gaping loopholes.

Fisheries ministers agreed on Wednesday (27.2) to reforms of the EU common fisheries policy, but said that close to 10% of all fish caught can still be discarded, dead.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies described the loophole as a breach of the principle that all fish caught should be landed. Continue reading

Davies: Fish for the Future

MEPs today voted for an ambitious reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) by 502 to 137 votes.

UK Liberal Democrat MEP, who founded the cross-party MEP campaign group Fish For the Future, commented after the historic vote:

“Today’s overwhelming support for EU fisheries reform from MEPs across all parties and nationalities puts us in a very strong negotiation position with Member States in the Council of Ministers.  The Irish Presidency has made clear it wants to complete the reform by June.

“People across Europe have said that we must stop overfishing, rebuild our fish stocks, and put an end to the waste of millions of tonnes of fish that are thrown back into the sea, dead, each year. 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

Davies: MEPs overwhelmingly back Commission on fisheries reform

The Environment Committee today unanimously endorsed the Commission’s key proposals for Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform. MEPs adopted 550 amendments drafted by UK Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies calling for measures to stop overfishing and rebuild fish stocks. Commenting after the vote, Chris Davies said:

“Today’s vote sends a strong signal that a huge number of MEPs in all political groups recognise the need to stop overfishing and rebuild fish stocks

“If we want a long term future for Europe’s fishing industry, we need to Continue reading