UK challenges “inconsistent” over-fishing penalties Published: 24 April, 2007
THE UK Government has written to the European Commission to complain about “inconsistent” policing of the Common Fisheries Policy, a minister said today.
British quotas for mackerel and herring were cut earlier this year as a penalty for over-fishing.
But despite France over-fishing bluefin tuna for the last two years, the Commission has yet to propose any sanctions.
Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw said: “It would be inconsistent for the European Commission to apply the rules on payback to the UK for its declared over-fishing of mackerel and herring, but not to do so on the over-fishing of bluefin tuna declared by France.
“I have … written to the Fisheries Commissioner (Joe Borg) explaining my dissatisfaction with the approach being taken. We await a response from the Commission.”
France declared over-fishing in 2005 by 2,572 tons of tuna, 38% more than it was allowed to catch.
Unconfirmed figures from last year suggest over-fishing by 1,826 tons, 27% more than its quota.
Mr Bradshaw said he had raised the issue at a meeting of agriculture and fisheries ministers on April 18 and would do so again next month.
Britain and Ireland face quota cuts of 15% per year for the next five years because of over-fishing.
At the time the punishment was announced, Commissioner Borg warned: “Excessive quota landings have a cost not only on account of their impact on fish stocks but also in economic and social terms for the industry.”