Graham Watson MEP
Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar
A local champion with an international reputation
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Published on Tuesday 5th February 2013
In a historic vote tomorrow in the European Parliament, Lib Dem MEPs will back proposals for an ambitious reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy. The reforms will set legally binding limits based on scientific data, allowing fish stocks to recover to their natural level, and will end the wasteful practice of discards. They will also devolve powers to regional authorities for the day-to-day management of multi-annual plans.
Lib Dem MEP for South West England and Gibraltar Sir Graham Watson commented:
"Tomorrow is a historic opportunity to show that Europe can reform when its policies are clearly not working. These reforms will end the moral disgrace of discards, which allow millions of tons of edible fish to be thrown overboard each year. They will also put an end to unnecessary micromanagement from Brussels, allowing day-to-day management to be undertaken by those who understand local conditions."
"Most importantly, they will help to restore Europe's fish population and recreate the abundance that once existed. Year after year, member states have got together to set annual quotas but have ignored scientific advice. Instead they have tended to listen to fishermen, who can often be their own worst enemies by only looking to the short-term instead of the long-term sustainability of fish stocks."
"Of course there are going to be some problems in implementing these reforms but we must look to the end goal, rebuilding fish stocks and securing a future for our fishermen."
Notes to editors:
The vote on Common Fisheries Policy reform will take place at Wednesday 11:30am in the European Parliament
The European Parliament report can be found here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A7-2013-0008&language=EN#title2