A news report from 1991, showing that the fundamentally flawed EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was the cause of over-fishing and bad management.

These failures resulted in decommissioning schemes which scrapped 60% of the British fleet, ripping the heart out of communities. The failing CFP has driven continual cuts and a scramble to survive with continual consolidation to last man standing. Family community fishing is driven out of a livelihood and ever increasing monies are spent leasing and buying quotas to remain stagnant and survive – it is a circus that fails fish and fishermen.

Contrary to Europhile claims, the EU did not save stocks but caused the problems which it still fails to address. The EU caused overfishing through “equal access to a common resource” which stopped Britain exercising her rights to manage her waters and address increasing vessel technology and power.

The EU gave grants to build more powerful boats and incentivised overfishing with minimum market prices which stopped market gluts & low prices halting over supply. The EU caused a problem and then implemented Quotas which DO NOT work in mixed fisheries as the video shows fishermen have been saying since 1991!

Fishermen cannot determine what mix of species they catch. Quotas led to illegal landings or mass discarding. Quotas forced fishermen to OVERFISH and catch MORE than necessary to find what they could keep.

Quotas caused inaccurate science and exacerbated the fleet over-capacity caused by the EU. To add insult to injury when quotas were set under EU ‘relative stability shares’ the UK only received 25% of the resources although British waters contributed half the seas and catches.

As the system failed, the EU heaped on more rules and bureaucracy to make a bad system work. To add insult to injury when quotas were set under EU ‘relative stability shares’ the UK only received 25% of the resources although British waters contributed half the sea areas and catches. This deprivation of our own management and resources coupled with EU funded over capacity and a failed quota system is what killed over half the British fleet. Some say this is accidental; others think it a deliberate series of pretexts to cull the British fleet to make way for an EU fleet ruled by an EU policy.

Not only do EU member states directly take 60% of the resources from British waters under ‘relative stability shares’ but EU ‘freedom of establishment’ laws allowed EU owned but UK registered flagship companies to buy out family owned British fishermen struggling under EU rules.

These EU flagships now own around HALF of the 40% sliver of our own fish the UK receives as part of the EU heir legal challenge in the Factortame case overturned and forced the government to allow this to happen, proving the British parliament and courts no longer sovereign.

EVEN WORSE!! The incoming EU 2019 discard ban addresses the discard symptom not the quota cause. As of 2019 when vessels exhaust their most meagre quota they must stop fishing and tie up for the rest of the year. This final drive into a 30 year ‘cull-de-sac’ of failed management will ruin around another 60% of what’s left of the British fleet. This is why British fishing cannot be trapped in a transition. Why we must escape the failed CFP, ASAP.

It is why post-Brexit the government cannot replicate the same failed EU quota policies to appease vested interests now a minority of powerful vested interests running some fishermen’s federations who wish to keep the failed system and last man standing due to investment driven made in it to survive.

We must have new mixed fishery management based on limiting time at sea in exchange for allowing fishermen to land and record everything they catch in a time at sea/quota hybrid. This would result in catching less but landing more and generate accurate stock data and management response – currently we are forced to do the opposite of all these.

In addition to this, the government should retain the British FQA entitlement system to retain the investment vessel were driven to make in order to survive. These FQAs should be converted from being entitlement to arbitrary weight-based quotas that force fishermen to discard to Flexible Catch Compositions (FCCs) that set percentages of species fishermen should aim to catch. If fishermen exceed their FCCs which are based on their track record of catches and investment then they don’t need to discard or tie up but can swap a value of time equivalent to the value of the “wrong” fish caught.

This means there is no financial incentive to Race-to-Fish for high value species or for species the vessel did not traditionally have entitlement to catch but it means there is the flexibility to land all catches. The loss of time is paid for by the value of the “wrong” fish meaning fishermen can make a living but needn’t work on catching more fish. This system would preserve large scale investment in FQAs whilst allowing the flexibility for all fishermen to prosper across all sizes and sectors to rebuild coastal communities.

Crucially fishermen would be catching less fish with no discards and a limit on time at sea whilst generating real time data which allows real time management responding to natural fluctuations. This would give Britain a unique, world leading discard free management system, allowing Britain to husband her resources sustainably in a system that allows all fishermen and communities to prosper.


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