Conservatives defeat "foolhardy and catastrophic" trawling ban

10-Dec-2013 @ 16:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

British Conservative MEPs have defeated a move in the European Parliament to impose a blanket ban on all deep sea trawling.

They successfully voted down an amendment to proposed legislation, which would have shut down Britain's deep sea fishing industry overnight with devastating consequences for communities.

The UK Government, the majority of EU states and the scientific community have highlighted huge problems with both the effectiveness and the commercial and social impact of the proposed ban, which was championed by North West Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies although it would have decimated the British fishing fleet.

Struan Stevenson, Conservative MEP for Scotland and senior vice-president of the parliament's Fisheries Committee, said: "I strongly support effective management measures to prevent threats to stocks and to preserve sensitive marine ecosystems, but the simple fact is that a blanket ban will not do either.

"Instead we need properly-targeted measures, with specific conditions applied to specific habitats and areas. It is essential that we manage the current fishing footprint to protect vulnerable ecosystems, but that is best achieved through targeted, risk-based measures."

"MEPs, the commission and member states have spent months negotiating a compromise package that addresses all the concerns of those involved and which was fully endorsed at the Fisheries Committee vote last month.

"Instead, Mr Davies tried to overturn the package that his Lib Dem group supported in committee, and undermine the parliamentary process in a way that would have been no help to the environment, no good for fish stocks and disastrous for a substantial proportion of the UK fishing industry and many fishing communities.

"The ban was a disproportionate and poorly-conceived approach which would have brought the sector catastrophic consequences. Some10 per cent of UK active vessels would have been wiped out instantly.

"It should be a relief to all concerned that we have seen off this foolhardy scheme."

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