UKIP and SNP representatives heap misery on UK fishermen

10-Dec-2015 @ 18:0

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A large swathe of the UK's fishing fleet is facing damaging uncertainty after a European Parliament committee refused implement a previously agreed decision on discards.

The move, backed by UKIP and SNP representatives, could have a "seismic" effect on British fishermen, according to Conservative Fisheries spokesman Ian Duncan.

Legislation comes into force on January 1 forcing the North Sea white fish fleet to land everything it catches as part of a phased moves to end the practice of throwing back unwanted fish. However, agreement was reached earlier this year exempting species such as cod and hake from the discard ban until January 2017 to allow fishermen to prepare for the change.

But today a majority of the Parliament's Fisheries Committee's co-ordinators, including representatives of the UKIP and SNP groups, voted to delay the introduction of this phased implementation for several months due to what they claimed was a lack of information. The consequence is that from January 1 2016, by law all demersal fish caught at sea must be landed.

Mr Duncan, whose ECR Group opposed the delay, argued that the livelihood of fishermen had been deemed less important than petty bureaucracy.

"I am furious that the Fisheries Committee, including groups to which UKIP and the SNP belong, has cancelled the phased introduction of the discard ban," he said. "It is madness.

"The impact on our fishermen could be seismic. They had been led to believe that cod would be included in the scope of the ban only from January 1, 2017, but now they have less than three weeks to prepare for the full force of the ban for all species and the legal basis for the whole demersal discard plan is up in the air.

"By allowing representatives of their group to vote in this way, UKIP and the SNP are condemning fishermen to a bleak Christmas and a challenging New Year. The political parties that caused this problem must get their act together fast."

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