Fishers' Leader Hits Out At Commissioner –

Fishers’ Leader Hits Out At Commissioner Fishing Monthly Published:  12 June, 2002

A FISHERMEN’S leader said today that the credibility of EU Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler had been shattered by the controversial decision to agree a deepwater fisheries deal at fish talks in Luxembourg.

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation President Alex Smith said that Mr Fischler had this week extolled the virtues of stakeholder involvement in EU fisheries policy and had also made it plain it was too early to land a deepwater deal.

Yet now, he had discounted scientific, environmental and industry opinion in favour of a political stitch-up.

“This has been a political trade off backed up by quota figures plucked out of the air.

“But at the end of the day, if you are isolated in negotiations as we were on this issue, this is the way the Commission works, even in a case where you are dealing with the most fragile stocks possible.”

And they were heading for another blue whiting fiasco in a deepwater context given that EU vessels would be restricted in international waters yet non-EU countries would be able to fish unfettered.

“This whole situation is incredible when you remember how TACs and quotas have not worked. This was a glorious opportunity to do something different and learn from the mistakes we made in the past.

“ But we will see no conservation benefits at all from this deal because a lot of boats will get permits and quickly exhaust quotas, leading to large scale discarding which is horrendous.

“Commissioner Fischler’s credibility has been shot to pieces.”