Get the facts right on fishing

Let us have the truth about fishing.

Our MP Mr Goodwill is encouraging one of the most recent Euro myths, namely that fishing off the end of the pier could be controlled by the European Union. Total nonsense.

He should study the proposals and the reasons behind them. The proposals say nothing about fishing from the shore. The claim that onshore fishing is to be controlled is not true.

Mick Jefferson comments that restrictions on fishing could extend to angling. Where did he see that in the proposals? I ask him to remember what happened to the tunny once caught off our coast. They are gone because there were no restrictions on fishing for herring, the food of the tunny. Greed wiped out the herring and with them the tunny.

Article 47, part of the draft proposals, is proposed because of the loopholes which allow fishermen, claiming to be recreational fishers, to extract huge quantities of blue fin tuna from the Mediterranean and Adriatic. Illegal fishing forms an astounding part of all fish caught each year and is second only to the huge annual haul of the Chinese fishing fleet.

The Aubert Report develops the Commission's proposal for a community system "to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing". Illegal Unreported Unregulated fishing is a serious global problem, one of the main impediments to the achievement of sustainable world fisheries. Worth between $4 billion and $9 billion a year, Illegal Unreported Unregulated fishing represents a major loss of revenue, particularly to some of the poorest countries in the world where dependency on fisheries for food, livelihoods and revenues is high.

Illegal Unreported Unregulated fishing respects neither national boundaries nor international attempts to manage resources. It puts unsustainable pressure on fish stocks, marine wildlife and habitats.

The proposals are being studied by Liberal Democrat MEP Elspeth Attwool, of the fisheries committee. The final decisions will be made by the Council of Fisheries ministers, and that includes Hilary Benn MP, our fisheries minister. We hope he gives this proposal the consideration it deserves.

Cllr Brian O'Flynn

Town Hall