Fish facing a grime future –

Fish facing a grime future Published:  23 June, 2011

Europe’s seas face a future without fish, the woman responsible for shaping EU policy has warned.

EU fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki, told a meeting today of the European Parliament’s ‘Fish for the Future’ group that 91% of stocks would be endangered within a decade.

She is planning next month to announce radical plans for reform to prevent an inevitable loss of fish stocks and further decline of the fishing industry.

The Greek Commissioner, described as “gutsy” by a North West Euro-MP, warned that prospects were grim and that a reduction in employment was inevitable until fish stocks could recover.  She said that without change, the decline in fish would lead to an even greater loss of jobs.

And she blasted a declaration by six countries, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and Belgium, which this week called for the continuation of subsidies for new fishing vessels.

She said: “Subsidies would simply postpone the inevitable and at a high cost to taxpayers. Subsidies bear a heavy environmental cost and throw us deeper into the vicious circle.

“If we don’t act, we will lose one fish stock after the other.  We will lose jobs.  All of us will end up with less fish on our plates.”

North West Euro-MP Chris Davies, who founded the ‘Fish for the Future’ group, said that Britain’s fish stocks had plummeted during the ’60s and ’70s when it was managed independently, but that the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy had brought about no overall  improvement.

He said: “At last we have a tough and gutsy woman in charge who is spelling out the harsh facts to governments that prefer to think only of the short term.

“But the good news is that it’s not too late to change.  If we make the right decisions the fishing industry can have a successful and sustainable future.”