The following was sent to the local media 12 March 2015
Readers with an interest in fishing might be interested to know the Conservative’s in the European Parliament have successfully won a vote for a workable fish discard ban.
Under this plan fishermen will be given two years to adapt to new rules banning the discard of fish. The discard ban is part of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, brought in to stop caught fish being thrown back into the sea. UK Conservatives in the European Parliament have campaigned to support the ban but have raised concerns that the European Commission was trying to push the reforms through too quickly and without the proper legal basis.
This entire episode has been a case of bad law-making and could have left fishermen in a legal no man’s land. From the outset, the European Commission was wrong in trying to treat all fisheries alike.
UK Conservatives in the European Parliament have made it clear that the pelagic species (Mackerel and Herring) could have been dealt with first, as they are a clean fishery, and then the more complicated demersal stock (Haddock, Whiting). Now all Fishermen have two years to adjust to the new rules and will be able to fish without fear of breaking the law.
I strongly believe that no one wants to throw back caught fish, least of all fishermen, but we need the right rules in place. The vote was another step down that road before the whole Parliament votes in April.
I would hear from constituents who can email me direct at richard.ashworth@europarl.