Lib Dems achieve a Merrier Fishmas

A radical reforms to Europe’s common fisheries policy has won strong support from European MPs.

A group of MEPs voted today to end the practice of fishing boats discarding perfectly-edible fish and to take steps to rebuild the depleted fish stocks in European waters.

In a series of votes in the European Parliament’s fisheries committee, MEPs followed the lead of Southport’s Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies, founder of the cross party ‘Fish for the Future’ group of Euro-MPs, to end the ‘discard’ policy.

Chris Davies has been campaigning for reform of the controversial Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) since his re-election in 2009 and founded ‘Fish for the Future’ in 2010. Today’s votes marked a significant milestone in ending the practice of discarding fish, dead, into the sea just because that type of fish is ‘over quota’.

Chris Davies MEP said:

“We have been throwing perfectly edible fish overboard while fish stocks have dropped and dropped over the last few decades. Meanwhile, Fisheries Ministers from across the EU have met every December, listened to scientific advice, and then ignored it by setting fishing quotas far too high for fish to survive. With this reform in place, we should finally see the number and size of fish start to recover above minimum levels and back to a level where the fishing industry is viable again.”

MEPs were voting during the start of a a once-in-a-decade chance that the European Parliament has to change the law underpinning fishing policy across the 27 states of the EU.

The legislation will now need to be ratified by the entire European Parliament, prior to detailed negotiations between MEPs and Fisheries Ministers from the 27 EU countries.

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