Thursday, 30 May 2013

New CFP? What new CFP?

In response to the Fishing News article of May 24, 2013 [no link available] about the new CFP taking a large step forward, Roddy McColl wrote on behalf of FAL:

Are there any UK fishermen who believe that the Brussels deal will deliver workable measure in key areas? (FN 24 May)

As for Richard Benyon’s statement that British fishermen stood to gain from the changes as under the new rules of regionalisation fishermen “will be part of the process rather than victims of it” that is a masterpiece of propaganda, of hope over reality.

There is no new CFP. How often must we repeat that the real CFP is equal access to the common resource?

Of course there will be changes in various aspects of the EU’s fisheries policy- Common Organisation of the Market, a phased ban on discards and the implementation of MSY with a nod towards decentralisation of the “dysfunctional CFP” to quote Richard Lochhead with the introduction of regionalisation though even that will be a Member State acting as an agent (or agents in a regional context) to implement the grand strategy of the EU.

And that has never changed - the Treaties of Accession make it crystal clear that all species of fish within the waters of all EU maritime nations, are a common resource to which all EU member state’s fishermen have an equal right of access.

Exclusive competence for fisheries lies with the EU not the Member States.

The Commission has gone out of its way for years to make it absolutely clear that the non negotiable “acquis communautaire” for marine fisheries is free access to waters on a non discriminatory basis for all member states fleets, for all species of fish within the waters of all EU maritime nations. The CFP is about establishing an EU fleet, controlled, directed and managed from and by Brussels using compliant Member States as their agents to that end.

For any Minister to say that the current reform process provides one of the biggest opportunities ever to shape the future of the CFP is totally disingenuous.

Worth quoting in those interminable debates in response to those who say that the "new CFP" will be so wonderful and will solve all our problems. It will not.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Iceland is keeping her fish

Iceland has officially abandoned any pretence at wanting to be part of the European Union.

Iceland’s bid to join the EU has come to an end, Iceland’s centre-right independence party leader Bjarni Benediktsson has said.

The eurosceptic politician made the statement in an interview with Icelandic news outlet on Tuesday (21 May).

The 43-year old Benediktsson is in discussion to shape a new government with the centrist progressive party, following elections on 27 April. The progressives also oppose joining the EU.

We understand that a great deal of the argument revolved round the Common Fisheries Policy and what its effect would be on Iceland's fisheries.

Bloomberg reports:

Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who will take over as prime minister this week, has decided that a January decision to freeze EU membership talks will be extended indefinitely, his political adviser Johannes Thor Skulason said in a phone interview today.

“Later in the term there will be a referendum on whether Iceland should continue the talks, although no date has been decided,” Skulason said.

A referendum on whether to continue the talks not ex-post facto on whether to stay in.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Referendum or withdrawal?

While the various moves and counter-moves go on in the House of Commons about the possible but practically useless Bill for and In/Out referendum on the EU, over on the other side, where the red seats are, Lord Pearson has introduced a new Bill,the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill [HL] 2013-14. It had its First Reading on May 15 and its aim is "to make provision to repeal the European Communities Act 1972; and to make provision for the Secretary of State to repeal any enactment that has been a consequence of the European Communities Act 1972". It is unlikely to get very far but may well have a Second Reading and, possibly, the odd Committee day. The debates should be interesting and the subject of the disastrous and unreformable Common Fisheries Policy is likely to come up. We must make sure it does.

We have received the following information from Scottish Enterprise:


In support of the Scottish Government’s policy of developing the offshore renewable energy capacity in Scotland while providing a sustainable future for the Scottish fishing community, Scottish Enterprise has commissioned a study on behalf of the Scottish Government to investigate the potential opportunities for the use of the Scottish Fishing fleet in support of the offshore wind industry in Scotland.

The study will incorporate the following 5 aspects:

1) A Demand Study: Where the potential demands from the offshore wind developers for vessels to service the offshore wind sector will be determined.

2) A Supply Study: Which will investigate the potential use and conversion options for the Scottish fishing fleet, should the owners express an interest.

3) A Shortfall Study: An analysis of the potential demand for vessels, and where potentially this may be met by the fishing vessel fleet following conversion or retrofit.

4) A role, retrofit and Conversion Study: Analysis and categorisation of the types of retrofit and conversion options required of a fishing vessel to fulfil a role in the offshore wind industry.

5) Identification of Operational Locations: An evaluation of the location, facilities and constraints of potential operational support locations for vessels deployed to support the development, construction and operation of Scottish offshore wind farms. Initial engagement with industry stakeholders will be through a targeted perception survey, and this will be used to gather industry input, viewpoints and data. Contact with industry stakeholders will be made shortly and, input and opinion sought.

The study is being undertaken by SeaEnergy PLC, and supported by BVG Associates. For further information please contact SeaEnergy PLC through the following e-mail address: