Fiona O’Donnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Fisheries Minister, responding to a backbench parliamentary debate on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy today, will call for the government to reform fishing quotas to help the UK’s small fishing fleets.
The draft CFP regulations contain a proposal whereby Member States may withhold up to 5% of the national quota to encourage and reward operators that reduce discards and improve environmental performance. Labour thinks this should be increased to 20% to reward fishermen, including small scale fishermen, who are operating in a more environmentally and sustainable way and who contribute positively to coastal communities.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Fiona O’Donnell said:
“Labour wants a reformed Common Fisheries Policy that tackles vested interests and rewards those who fish more sustainably and selectively, with less impact on the environment. The UK’s small inshore fishing fleets represent over three quarters of the UK fleet and employ over 65 per cent of the workforce, yet they receive just 4 per cent of the quota allocated to Britain under the Common Fisheries Policy.
“The Government should be taking a lead in supporting our small fishing communities that are the lifeblood of many coastal areas. Labour wants to see the creation of an inshore Producer Organisation to represent small fishing fleets and a transparent, fairer distribution of quota to these local fishing interests.”
- Fiona O’Donnell met with representatives of the newly formed Under Ten Fisherman’s Association at Plymouth docks in March to discuss the creation of an inshore Producer Organisation to represent their interests.
- The UK fishing quota allocated under the Common Fisheries Policy is distributed across the fleet through Producer Organisations. Smaller fishing interests, such as the Under Ten fleets which fish in inshore coastal waters, are not represented by a Producer Organisation.
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[...] Benyon’s opposite number, Fiona O’ Donnell MP also raised the problematic issue of how we distribute the UK’s fishing quota. In particular she [...]