Fisheries on the Menu in Brussels –

Fisheries on the Menu in Brussels Published:  20 April, 2011

Two meetings of key importance to the EU Fisheries sector were held in Brussels last week.

Organised by Scottish Conservative Euro MP Struan Stevenson, Senior Vice President of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, the hearings focused on the current pressures and challenges facing the processing sector and the thorny issue of relative stability.

Attending a working lunch were key representatives from the processing sector in the UK and Ireland, together with Lowri Evans, Director General of DG Mare in the European Commission and representatives of Marine Scotland and DEFRA. The working lunch was also attended by Julie Girling MEP and Vicky Ford MEP. Representing the Scottish Herring Buyers’ Association was Chairman, Ian McFadden. He was accompanied by well-known Scottish pelagic fisherman, Andrew Tait.

During the discussion, Struan Stevenson MEP commented that he was keen to see a resolution to the mackerel dispute before the stock was destroyed at which point everyone would suffer, including the Faroes and Iceland.

Mr Stevenson stressed that the Faroes and Iceland “must be made to see sense, or we will certainly roll out sanctions across the board, covering not only fresh mackerel landings, but fish and fish products”.

Following the Working Lunch with the processors, Mr Stevenson chaired a seminar on ‘The Role of Relative Stability in the Reform of the CFP’, organised by the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development.

The seminar involved presentations from a formidable panel of experts including Erneso Penas Lado, Director of Policy Development & Coordination in DG Mare of the European Commission and Mogens Schou, Minister Adviser on fisheries & aquaculture in the Danish Government. Both outlined the importance of relative stability as a management tool and a distribution key for fishing rights in any future reformed fisheries policy.

Jose Antonio Suarez Llanos, Deputy Manager of the Cooperativa de Armadores del Puerto de Vigo (Spain) argued that relative stability encourages discards and was out-dated and should play no part in future fisheries management. There was heated debate on the rights and wrongs of maintaining a system of relative stability to protect traditional fishing rights in a specific zone, with the overall conclusion that it should remain as a core pillar of any reformed CFP.