Aldous keeps up pressure over fishing reform

Waveney MP Peter Aldous today asked Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon about a fair deal for the under-10-metre fishing fleet at the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Mr Aldous was speaking in Questions to the Secretary of State to Environment Food and Rural Affairs in the House of Commons. Aldous is keeping up pressure on the Government after having led a delegation of Lowestoft fishermen to meet Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last week.

FULL TEXT

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): What recent discussions her Department has had on reform of the common fisheries policy; and if she will make a statement. [29448]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Richard Benyon): As UK fisheries Minister, I have had discussions with a range of organisations and people about common fisheries policy reform, including discussions with the EU Fisheries Commissioner and other member states' Ministers during November's EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council. I have also met representatives of the fishing industry-both the large-scale and under-10-metre sector-MEPs and non-governmental organisations. I plan to have further discussions in pressing our case for radical reform of the CFP.

Peter Aldous: I thank the Minister for that reply, and for meeting a delegation of Lowestoft fishermen last week. I wish him well in his negotiations at next week's Council of Ministers meeting. The future of fishermen and communities all around Britain depends on a successful outcome. Will the Minister confirm that in the review of the CFP, his priorities will include a fair deal for the under-10-metre fleet and the elimination of discards?

Richard Benyon: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his good wishes for next week's negotiations, and I confirm that the UK is committed to genuine fundamental reform-to achieving healthy fish stocks, a prosperous fishing industry and a healthy marine environment. Part of that agenda is to ensure that we have regionalised decision making and an end to the top-down failure of the current common fisheries policy, and that we give fishermen a stake in the long-term health of fish stocks. That involves those in the under-10-metre sector; I am deeply mindful of the problems that they have faced in recent years, and I want to give them and the communities that they support a long-term future under a reformed CFP.

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