(Pages updated 23rd October 2003)

       Scottish Daily Mail 22 August 2003Comment

 Scuppered by our own politicians 

FLODDEN-ON-SEA that is the appropriate description for the decimation of Scotland's historic fishing fleet, as more than 50 skippers abandoned the unequal struggle against European Union harassment and agreed to scrap their boats. This is a moment of national humiliation. 

It did not have to happen. This was not a re-run of the melancholy scenes in the1980s when traditional industrial plants such as Ravenscraig and Gartcosh were forced to close because they had lost their markets and become unsustainable. On the contrary, the Scottish fishing industry is perfectly viable and could make a useful contribution to our national economy, if the market had not been rigged. 

The EU conspiracy - it deserves no other name to destroy the British (which effectively means Scottish) fisheries industry began as long ago as 1970, when the Common Fisheries Policy was launched. The strategy behind it was to award more and more fishing rights to countries such as Spain, on the grounds that fishing was a more central element in their economies, at the expense of this country 

Year on year, the net of EU regulation has tightened around our fishermen until their livelihood has been extinguished. This has been a cynical exercise in duplicity, barely resisted by British governments of either complexion. Recently, the ploy has been to make the alleged crisis in cod stocks the pretext for beaching Scottish fishermen. 

But, at the same time, Scandinavian trawlers have been allocated quotas for 'industrial' fishing that allow them to catch three times the amount of white fish permitted to the UK fleet - purely as 'by-catch', to be discarded or turned into pig food. That is the measure of the hypocrisy of the European Commission 

The Spanish armada that is now invading former Scottish fishing grounds has been expanded with the help of an involuntary subsidy of £25O million from British taxpayers. 

This is a bitter reward for the gallantry of Scottish fishing communities in war and peace. At the outbreak of World War II, one quarter of all naval reservists came from the Western Isles. Most of them were fishermen and their casualties were appalling. 

But the case for preserving the Scottish fisheries industry has never depended upon sentiment. It would be a profitable industry if the EU had not rigged the rules.  

All our fishermen ever asked for was a level playing field. Shame on the gutless politicians who have sold them out.

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Fishing Leader Hails

MPs Bill

to withdraw from the CFP!!

No, not as you would expect Tom Hay FAL Chairman BUT George Macrae Secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association Ltd. 

In the Press & Journal and on the SWFPA website of 25 June the SWFPA says its “eager to meet rebel Labour MP Austin Mitchell to discuss his Bill to leave the CFP. 

George Macrae has warmly welcomed the initiative and says that removal of the UK from the CFP is essential to restore UK control to its traditional waters. 

The SWFPA hopes to meet Austin Mitchell shortly to discuss this issue further. 

On the following page are letters from two correspondents to the Press & Journal’s Letters Page commenting on the SWFPAs remarkable conversion.  

Ye cannae plough the field jist by turnin’ it ower in yer mind !

 

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Chairman's Opening Remarks at Conservative Fringe Meeting

 Blackpool 8th October 2003

 

Good Morning Ladies And Gentlemen. 

Welcome again to this another "Save Britain's Fish" fringe meeting, at the end of which we expect to be treated to a well cooked fish and chip lunch.  So don't go away any of you because there should be sufficient for all. 

I just want to make one or two short observations today before I hand you over to our two speakers, John Ashworth mastermind of "Save Britain's Fish", and John Hayes Conservative front bench spokesman on fisheries, after which questions will be taken from the floor. 

Sadly I have to tell you that the prophetic warnings of impending disaster, so faithfully yet forcefully sounded out by "Save Britain's Fish" over many years, and which went completely unheeded by successive British Governments, now overwhelm our fishermen, as their industry struggles in the ever tightening vice like grip of its death throes. 

As everyone here knows, it was a Conservative Administration in the early 1970's which took us into this suicidal involvement with what we were led to believe was just a  Common Market, and surrendered British fishing grounds, British fishing rights and British fish stocks to an un-elected foreign dictatorship in Brussels. 

Confidential Cabinet memos recently revealed by the Public Record Office detail the way that fears for the future of the British fishing industry - the reality of which is now brutally clear - were brushed aside by the British negotiators desperate to get the United Kingdom into this so called Common Market. 

These actions of 30 years ago have led us down the path we are on today.  A similar decision by Tony Blair's government will take us further down that path, and just as the disregard for issues of national sovereignty ignored in the past, now form a blemish of shame on the history of our nation, ratifying this EU Constitution will form a similar blemish for historians, to ponder in years to come, when it is too late. 

During 18 years of Conservative government, from 1979 to 1997, Fisheries Ministers such as John Gummer, David Curry, Michael Jack, Tony Baldry and perhaps others introduced ghastly heartbreaking policies, cunningly camouflaged in a skilful and cynical manner to justify their fictitious claims of a desperate conservation crisis in fish stocks, which resulted in British fishermen being persecuted, humiliated, criminalized, as their industry throughout the media became the subject of disgrace, of scorn and of shame.  

"Save Britain's Fish" quickly detected that this ingenious plot was to get rid of the British fleet in favour of a predatory armada of Spanish and other foreign vessels, in what ought to be British waters based on the hitherto unheard of  principle anywhere else in the world, of "Equal Access" by all member states fishermen to a "Common Resource"  

"Save Britain's Fish" became so successful in the veracity of  its arguments that all the big guns of  the then Conservative government, and now New Labour, have been turned against us, but to no avail. 

Even Ian Lang who held the prestigious position of Scottish Secretary wrote to the Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation in February 1995 with these words --- The "Save Britain's Fish" campaign, I have to say, is based entirely on an appeal to the emotions of fishermen.  It uses fallacious arguments and misrepresentations of the facts.  It fails entirely to recognise the economic, legal and political constraints which make the objective of withdrawing from the CFP, both completely unrealistic, and indeed damaging to the fishing industry.  Perhaps what he meant to say was that the predecessor of his Party while in government in 1972 presented the whole of this EEC fisheries policy to the British Parliament, and to the British people in a most disingenuous fashion. 

What a shocking disgrace for a Secretary of State for Scotland to say, that "Save Britain's Fish" uses fallacious arguments and misrepresentations of the facts.    

I say to Lord Lang today as he now sits in the cosy atmosphere of the House of Lords, that the deadly accuracy of well researched facts, is the immovable ground upon which the policies of "Save Britain's Fish" and The Fishermen's Association Ltd (FAL) are built, and shame upon himself or anyone else who decides to call them into derision and ridicule. 

Now that is all I am going to say at the moment.  I will now hand you over to John Ashworth.

Thomas Hay

Chairman

*********

Letter in  Scotsman  24 September 2003

Britain must rule its own waves

With regard to your recent correspondence on the fishing industry, why do politicians always refer to previous legislation and treaties made in the past. Surely it is time for them to take cognisance of current problems and act together to save the industry.

Claims that the United Kingdom could not compete with the European Union in negotiations with third countries is bogus. Norway, the Faroes and possibly Iceland, would welcome discussions with the UK fleet for access to their own and UK waters. These countries want to negotiate fishing issues with individual countries rather than the EU.

The pelagic fleet already has a working relationship with the Norwegians, the Faroese and the Irish. But this relationship will be strained when the Baltic states arrive on the scene demanding their share in our waters.

Everyone recognises the dangers when the Spanish enter the fray. One only needs to look at their track record and the many arrests made for offences such as misreporting, undersized nets and fish, and generally cheating the quota system. Conservation is not on their agenda.

There are MPs, MSPs and MEPs who are to be admired for their cross-party support for the industry. They support the need for UK control of its own waters up to the median line. This can only be achieved with the full support of the UK parliament. The Scottish Parliament has authority only over our waters up to a 12-mile limit.

JOHN NOBLE

Windmill Court

Anstruther, Fife

 

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Sir,

 Reclaiming British waters 

I refer to your report headed “ Fishermen split over new bid to wrest sea back from Brussels” ( May 31). It beggared belief that SWFPA Secretary George Macrae claimed that the SWFPA and the SFF had always been in support of unilateral withdrawal from the CFP, considering that the SWFPA has consistently rubbished the rival Fishermen’s Association Limited ( FAL) for advocating such a position. 

As I see it, the SWFPA and the SFF have been going along with the Government policy of sticking with the ( fundamentally flawed) CFP, but advocating reform thereof, of which helpful reform I consider to be more unrealistic than British unilateral withdrawal. 

The SWFPA and SFF have basked in the kudos of exclusive talks with the Government, which is presiding over the decimation of the Scottish Fishing Industry to give other EU countries a larger share of access to British fishing waters which our Government has allowed to be classed a shared EU resource. 

If the drastic quota and days-at-sea cuts had anything to do with the claimed conservation of stocks, then something would have been done about the euphemistically coined “ industrial fishing” which scoops up the feeding for such stocks together with the bycatch. 

The only thing preventing Britain from reclaiming British waters and control thereof through a Bill in parliament is the lack of political will which the SWFPA and SFF has been and still is supporting. 

It amazes me how the SWFPA and SFF still have fishermen members who are apparently unconcerned at the decimation of their industry through the complicity of their industry representatives 

Philip Mitchell

46 Buchan Road Macduff

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Sir                                                 

Lip Service to National Control 

I wholeheartedly endorse the views of your correspondent Phillip Mitchell (Letters, June 6th ) on recent statements made by George MacRae, Secretary of Scottish White Fish Producers Association, on the subject of withdrawal from the CFP. 

In the mid-nineties, leading figures in SWFPA/SFF were warned by colleagues that the CFP would be a disaster for our fishermen. Their refusal to listen led to a major split in the industry. As I remember, SWFPA insisted that by working along with the EC, they would be able to influence the CFP from within, to the benefit of Scottish fishermen. They also argued, illogically, that it wasn't worth while lobbying MP's to achieve something which was not already in their parties' manifestos! SWFPA/SFF leaders were particularly hostile to the (then) newly formed Fishermen's Association Ltd. (FAL) precisely because they campaigned tirelessly for the restoration of our waters to our own control. They derided FAL, unfairly, as being a “ one issue” association given to scare mongering. 

Now, of course, demands for national control are widespread. Support for FAL is growing almost daily, and the “one issue” is uppermost in the minds of almost everyone concerned about the industry's future. The Conservatives, for whom the SFFs own secretary Dr Duncan stood at the recent elections, have promised to take us out of the CFP if returned to power. Furthermore, campaigners for this have had some initial success at Westminster with the first reading of Austin Mitchell MP's bill. 

In view of all this, perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised that SWFPA are now paying lip service to the idea of national control. Their policy (the real one) of working within the CFP has clearly failed to secure much of a future for our fishermen. 

If SWFPA/SFF leaders really believe in the idea of leaving the CFP, they should have the courage of their convictions and throw their full weight behind the campaign, albeit nearly a decade late. If they do, a certain loss of face may be felt by one or two of their "elder statesmen" who wanted FAL strangled at birth. 

Surely this is unimportant when set against the survival of our fishing communities? 

The ambivalent stance now adopted by SWFPA/SFF is likely to lose them what support and credibility they still have. 

Spence Rae

28 Wellbrae Terrace

Aberdeen

 

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By the next general election it is expected that

80% of Westminster business will be controlled

by the EU Commission. 

 

Our MPs will be no more than middle tier management no longer representing the British people but subservient to the unelected Commission.

 

·     Do you think it right that MPs portray themselves as representing the electorate when they can influence only 20% of issues?

·     Do you think it right that they can give away the governance and democracy of our nations of Great Britain without a Referendum?

·     Ask your MPs where they stand on handing 80% of control to an unelected foreign institution.

·     Ask them if they support domestic legislation to amend the European Communities Act 1972 to take back that control to Westminster.

·     CHALLENGE them  -- If they state that they can change the EU from within – DEMAND HOW! 

It is not the EU Treaties that are paramount but the Act of Parliament and that responsibility rests solely with Westminster Parliamentarians

 

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  COD CRUSADERS SPREAD NET EVEN

WIDER IN CAMPAIGN

FOR SUPPORT

 

JAMIE BUCHAN Press & Journal 24 June 2003

The North-east's Cod Crusaders are casting their nets nationwide in an attempt to bring about a public vote on the future of Scotland's fishing industry. The Broch-based campaigners are pushing for control of fishing grounds to be removed from Brussels and returned to Britain.
They want to prove there is widespread support for the UK to abandon the Common Fisheries Policy. On 23 June the Crusaders launched an online survey to drum up support for the latest stage of their campaign. The Cod Crusaders hope the Government will be moved to call a referendum if their poll is successful.
Leading campaigner Carol MacDonald said last night: "This public opinion poll is very important. We want to know what the people of Britain feel about regaining national control of the fishing grounds. In October, we will be presenting the results to Westminster and we will demand a referendum. Returning control to the UK Government will free us from the restrictions of EU law. It will provide fishing-dependent areas like Peterhead and Fraserburgh with much-needed security and stability."

 The site was designed by Peterhead-based Dome Computers, as part of the Crusaders' campaign to gain widespread support for Scotland's fishers.

Mrs MacDonald said: "We need as many people as possible to get online and vote. If people don't have access to the net, we would urge them to use a computer at their local library or get in touch with a friend who has a computer. We know there is a lot of support for returning control to the UK Government and we want to prove this when we go to Westminster."

Earlier this month, the Cod Crusaders joined other industry representatives from throughout Britain for a meeting with Fisheries Minister Elliot Morley.
The Scottish Executive has already announced a £50 million package for the fleet. But most of this will be used to pay boat-owners to scrap their vessels, with only £10 million earmarked for traditional aid for fishing-dependent areas.
The poll is being carried out through the Cod Crusaders' website:

www. cod-crusaders. org.uk

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COD CRUSADERS CAMPAIGN

Shetland Visit

8 August 2003 

We the Cod Crusaders Morag Ritchie and myself have been battling to preserve our cherished fishing industry and its communities for the past 9 months and boy has it been some struggle. 

As you all are probably aware we have been to Westminster, Holyrood, and. Brussels with our case. We have been to hell and back and met with some  horrifying bureaucrats along the way.              

However our determination and faith in the industry keeps our spirits up to carry on. But the most important inspiration we have that drives our determination are our children. We are fighting to give them a future and  preserve their way of life. 

 We come to Shetland to promote the fact that our fishing industry and communities can no longer be subjected to constant scrutiny and deprivation. We therefore must preserve what we have and fight to keep it.

One thing that we have learned is that there are only a small amount of   Parliamentarians that are on our side so we must drive home the truth and facts to those who are not behind us. They were voted in to represent  our communities so they should start adhering to what the community wants or they could quite easily jeopardise their political standing in the  next General Election and be replaced by someone who will represent the communities needs.       

We have been trying to promote the fact that a long term solution for our          industry would be National Control of our own waters as it has been a          success for the likes of Norway and Iceland, but as always there are          critics who say this cannot be achieved, but we Know it can be achievable          as it only .requires an Act of Parliament to amend the 1972 European Communities Act. 

So we ask of you, the occupants of Shetland, to apply as much pressure on to your Councillors, MSPs, MPs and MEPs to give our industry and communities a chance of survival. 

The only way for that is by gaining National Control, and we The Cod Crusaders will settle for nothing less than National Control in order to give the true justification to our industry and communities that they truly deserve. 

The Cod Crusaders have publicly aligned themselves with The Fishermen’s association Limited and its policy of UK withdrawal from the CFP. Fishing News 13 June 2003

++++++

PRESS RELEASE

COMMUNITY FISHERIES CONTROL AGENCY

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING

 

There is a view in certain quarters of the UK catching sector that the proposed CFCA - the EU wide agency to police the fishing industry - will mean a relaxation of controls on the UK fleet. 

So, let’s examine what the Commission proposes for the CFCA to ascertain whether that assumption of relaxed controls is justified or if it’s another example of  extraordinary gullibility 

 The Commission proposes that the CFCA: 

1.     be made responsible for the organisation of joint deployment of pooled national means of inspection and surveillance in line with a pre-defined European strategy.

2.     would bring a uniform approach to inspection and surveillance.

3.     Multinational inspection teams would be set up in order to ensure greater confidence that the rules of the CFP are being enforced equally throughout the EU.

4.     activities would include, in particular, the organisation of inspection and surveillance of licences, vessel characteristics, fishing activities in EU territory and waters as well as in international and third country waters.

5.     would also co-ordinate inspections of landings. 

The background to this move was the issue by the Commission at the end of 2001 of 2 reports on fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance. One related to the CFP 1996-1999 and evaluated the effectiveness of the monitoring and control activities in Member States in ensuring compliance with the EU fisheries policy. 

The other Report contained a detailed description and assessment of the arrangements operating in coastal member states. 

What was of great concern than was the suggestion in the Report on the UK  that “although severe sanctions may be imposed by the UK Courts on those found guilty of breaching fisheries regulations, the Commission maintained that the majority of penalties levied would not appear to be sufficiently deterrent."! 

So, the Commission suggested:- 

“In regulating the activities of the fishing industry, the UK should consider whether greater use might be made of administrative sanctions.” 

In other words the CFCA will become Judge, Jury and Executioner. The CFCA would have the right not only to fine the skipper/ owner but also to withdraw his license for a specified period. The right to earn a livelihood is then removed which will have implications for crew retention (difficult enough as that is at present) and the continuing viability of the vessel which still has to meet its financial commitments but without the ability of doing so. 

The Commission stated that in the UK “standards of proof are exacting and only a limited number of infringements result in prosecution before the courts”. 

Has the Commission never heard of the European Convention of Human Rights? 

Article 6 of the Convention which is incorporated in to UK law deals with the right to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. 

The current level of policing with the resultant penalties will seem tame compared to what might be in store as we head for a single EU fleet operating in the single market within EU waters controlled by a Central Fisheries Protection Agency 

So will fishing fleet controls be eased under the Commission proposals? Hardly likely. The centralised Soviet style misgovernment by Brussels holds sway as the EU integrationist ideal is given its head. The UK fishing industry has already suffered appalling losses as a result. Recent history does not provide any comfort that  this will change.  

Indeed there is an increasing body of opinion in Europe that there has been a secret EU back-room deal or deals to share out predominance in major economic sectors, for example: UK – banking and finance; France and Italy - wine; Germany, France and Italy – motor vehicle manufacture; and Spain – fish. If true then why should the CFCA result in a relaxation of controls. It is more likely that the screw will tighten even further.

 R A McColl

24 April 2003

 

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Regional Advisory Councils

EU Presidency Discussion Paper April 2003

 FAL's Preliminary Observations  

Regional Advisory Councils are seen as an opportunity to devolve management power to relevant stakeholders; to share in the decision making process..........This is a myth. 

RACs are:-

(i) A manipulation by the Commission to further marginalise Member State’s input into EU decision making; to think that fishermen in RAC’s are going to push for other than self-centred policy is ludicrous. The fore-runner of RAC’s is the Irish Sea Cod Recovery meetings -- a dogfight. The Irish won because they were better supported by their scientists and civil servants. See Officialdom

(ii)  They are purely advisory bodies, and do nothing to transfer decision-making power away from Brussels.

(iii) In the EU Presidency Discussion Paper on RACs there is definition of a Member State’s  “fisheries interest " within  a RAC. Spain would only have to declare an interest in UK waters to have a legally unchallengeable place on that RAC!

(iv) There is not a word about the allocation of ecologically sustainable catching capacities among the Community members in proportion to their own waters and coastlines.

(v) There is nothing about priority of access for local fishing interests, which means that the current arrangements continue with the addition of local talking shops.

(vi) The one apparently positive feature is the acceptance of the principle that fishermen are to have the majority of places on the RACs. BUT those fishermen will be ring-fenced by regulations to prevent them doing anything that would contravene the authority of Brussels,

(vii) They will be powerless to prevent countries like France and Spain, to say nothing of the new EU members, demanding their rights under the open access regulations.

(viii) RAC’s can not provide for a more devolved fisheries management. Subsidiarity does not exist in the CFP. Competence for fisheries was transferred to Brussels. It would be contrary to the legal and institutional framework of the Treaty to grant RACs increased responsibilities in the decision making process.  

 

At least with National Control we have some influence with our decision makers with a ballot box judgement day and a publicity sensitive political machine.

 

R A McColl

23 April 2003

 

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The Real Fishing Industry Voice for National Control  

The FAL Board meeting on Friday 7 March unanimously approved the creation of a corporate membership category to enable the 120 member strong Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation (NIFPO) to affiliate with FAL. That Organisation is holding its Board meeting on 15 March when it is expected that this new force in UK fishing Industry politics will be wholeheartedly endorsed. One of the main objectives of this powerful grouping of UK interests will be to change the UKs political climate to secure National Control --- the repatriation of the United Kingdom’s 200 mile/median line limits so shamefully surrendered. 

“ FAL has been fighting a lone battle with little support for National Control because they saw the direction of the CFP “ said Leslie Girvan of NIFPO. “We have to give our men a voice and this affiliation will FAL will achieve that.”

The Board welcomed the grass roots call for united action on issues of common concern within the UK Industry.  A strategy has been agreed to progress this at national  level. 

Tom Hay, FAL Chairman said “ This has been a historic day for the Association. With the undoubted  support of our friends in Northern Ireland  and the formation of a women’s section, FAL is moving in to a new era. We are facing extremely difficult times at present but where there is a will there is a way. 

We have shown over the last 8 years what can be done by a small UK Association against tremendous odds both from within the Industry and from certain political parties . 

Change and adapting to change has always been part of life and there have been none better in adapting than fishermen. You can accept change meekly or you can fight to ensure that the negative impacts of it are lessened. We look forward with renewed vigor  to winning  that fight .”

R A McColl

For FAL Secretaries

 

10 March 2003

 

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Motion passed unanimously at SNP Conference 8 March 2003 

"Conference condemns the disgraceful fisheries deal agreed by the UK and Scottish Fisheries Ministers in Brussels last December which was unjustifiable and flawed; further condemns and rejects the subsequent package announced by the Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition which amounts to a redundancy package for our fishing communities; recognises that only an SNP Government will treat fishing as a priority; pledges to implement a recovery plan for the fishing Industry including a management plan for Scotland's fishing grounds that promotes sustainability and support measures for the fleet and onshore Sectors; further notes that the Common Fisheries Policy is unworkable and largely responsible for the decline or the Scottish fishing Industry and commits an SNP Government to campaign for the CFP to be scrapped and for genuine Control of Scotland’s fishing grounds to be returned to the Scottish Parliament."

 

****************************************************

Sir 

The package agreed this week in the Scottish Parliament (£40 million Decommissioning and £10 million transitional aid) is not only a disaster for our fishing communities but a disaster for the people of Scotland. 

The MSPs who voted for this redundancy package should hang their heads in shame.  

Around Scotland , we have some of the richest fishing grounds in the world --- herring, mackerel, prawns, deepwater species, haddock, cod, haddock, saithe, to name but a few of the fish found around our shores, a great natural resource. 

The way it’s going just now, there will be no Scottish boats left to fish them. 

There were 120 boats cut up and  decommissioned last year. We cannot keep going like this. 

We must take back our national control of fishing grounds. The Common Fisheries Policy has failed our fishermen, failed our fishing communities, failed Scotland. 

National Control is the only answer. The CFP must be scrapped. 

Peter Bruce

Skipper

Budding Rose PD 148

Fishing 125 miles north – east of Muckle Flugga

Shetland

 

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PRESS RELEASE 

John Hayes MP Shadow Fisheries Minister met FAL representatives in Peterhead on Thursday 6 March. The meeting was also attended by Carol MacDonald one of the Cod Crusaders and representatives of the Scottish Ship Chandlers Association and the Scottish Fishing Services Association. 

Mr Hayes stated that the Common Fisheries Policy had been a disaster for British Fishing. It had wrecked stocks, the UK Industry and the communities it supported. He added that the only way to restore confidence and viability for the UK white fish fleet was through National Control of fisheries. 

Mr Tom Hay Chairman of FAL said “Mr Hayes views are those which Save Britain’s Fish has been promoting for the last 10 years and also those of this Association when it was formed in1995. They were mocked and derided then by certain fishing Industry Associations but now appear to be the prevailing view.”  

Mr Hayes went on to disparage those parties like the Liberal Democrats who have suggested that Regional Management is an alternative to restoration of National sovereignty over fishing policy.

He said that Regional/zonal management would be like having a multitude of CFPs each with its own inconsistencies and disputes. 

Mr Hayes argued as part of his 6 point plan, after National Control was restored, that local involvement of fishermen working in partnership with Government and Scientists would be a prerequisite to delivering a policy sensitive to local needs and supported by the Industry. 

Mr Hayes committed to raising in Parliament, the case of fishing‘s ancillary Industries, including processing, chandlers, net makers, boat builders and engineers. The case was one which had not been made frequently enough. They also were dramatically effected by the Industry’s decline. 

Finally, he pledged to send a loud and clear message to Brussels from his position as Shadow Fisheries Minister that the Conservative Opposition was resolute in its commitment to re- establishing National Control of British Fishing Policy and that as a Minister in the incoming Conservative Government this would be given appropriate priority. 

Mr Hay, FAL Chairman, said “ The meeting was one where strong feelings were expressed and rightly so. But I was impressed with Mr Hayes passion and commitment, his straightforward no nonsense talking and his grasp of the complex issues facing the Industry.” 

R A McColl

10 March 2003

 

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THE FISHERMEN'S  ASSOCIATION LIMITED

AID PACKAGE
 or
 EU SERVITUDE? 

 

The recently announced so called aid package is not intended to preserve the British fishing Industry, but merely to act as an anaesthetic to dull the pain of its final extinction.  British fishermen have a choice:- 

  • either to accept the tainted rewards of bowing to the will of their executioners
  • or standing together as our forefathers did in the hour of our country's peril, by demanding the restitution of our fishing rights so shamefully surrendered.

As the final trap, conceived in Brussels closes on the remnants of the British fishing industry, fishermen and their ancillary trades ashore, need to be alerted yet again to this dangerous threat to what is an integral part of our island nation’s life. 

This is so obviously an extension of the prolonged offensive to drive British fishermen off their own seas in favour of the huge and destructive Spanish fleet and for the fleets of the Baltic States should their political elites succeed in selling their people into the vice like grip of  European Union servitude. 

It is constantly claimed that there are too many vessels chasing too few fish.  If British fishermen enjoyed the rights taken for granted by those of the free world, outside the European Union Empire of waste and corruption, of first claim on their own legally held fishing grounds, with stocks sensibly managed there would be an abundance of fish to keep the British fleet economically viable.  

But we will never have sufficient living marine resources to keep 15 or more European Nation's fishermen viable, which is precisely the objective of the Common Fisheries Policy. 

The European Union Fisheries Policy has been a social and environmental disaster 

The Reason

·       Its driven by a Political Integrationist Policy imbedded within the Treaties 

·       In the UK’s Treaty of Accession UK waters were handed over to the EEC to be shared by every other Member State equally and without discrimination 

·       This policy which is fully supported by the current Government will be complete by 2003 

·       Any proposal by fishing organisations or politicians (such as zonal or regional management) which goes outside the UK’s Treaty obligations requires unanimous agreement by all Member States

·       National Control--- is the only way the UK Fishing Industry can be salvaged from extinction

·       - Nothing less will stop the horrendous practice of dumping prime fish dead back in  to the sea

   - Nothing less will reverse the rapid decline in the numbers of  UK vessels

     - Nothing less will stop the decimation of the coastal infrastructure

The only solution to the crisis facing the British Fishing Industry lies with the UK Parliament.  

Thomas Hay

Chairman

FAL 

28 January 2003

TEL 01779 472750

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A Tragedy

 

 Franz Fischler visited an integrated school (multi denominational, multi cultural ) and asked the students "Give me an example of a tragedy" 

A little French girl replied replied  "if a fisherman fell out of his wheelhouse seat and broke his arm, whilst at the sea in a gale of wind that would be a tragedy" 

"Very good" said Big Franz  "but that would not be a tragedy but an accident" 

A little Dutch girl replied  "If a fishing vessel full of fisherman sunk to the bottom of the sea and all were lost that would be a tragedy" 

"Very good" said Big Franz  "but that would not be a tragedy but a great loss" 

A little Spanish Boy then replied "If you were Scottish fishermen fishing in the European Union, Herr Fischler, and the industry went into meltdown due to the barbarity of regulation imposed on you, then surely that would be a tragedy?" 

"Excellent" said Big Franz  "I am very flattered but how did you know that would be a Tragedy?" 

"Well" said the young Spaniard  "because it wouldn't be a great loss, and most certainly wouldn't be an accident".

 

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A FUTURE FOR THE SCOTTISH FISHING INDUSTRY

WHERE THERE IS A WILL THERE IS A WAY

 

By Ewen Gabriel, Highlands & Islands Area Manager –

Scottish Council for Development and Industry

 

“There are some things in life we don’t share.  For example, we wouldn’t dream of sharing our oil reserves.  Why, therefore, should we be expected to share our indigenous fisheries”.  

With this philosophy in mind this submission examines the crisis facing our fishing industry and draws conclusions and recommendations for a sustainable future through positive action in addressing issues under the following topics: 

q      The EC Common Fisheries Policy – A poor deal for the UK from the start.

q      Derogations in CFP for UK are delaying tactics for total control by Europe.

q      1973 Relative Stability and 1983 Allocation Keys.

q      CFP fatally flawed and the ruination of UK and especially Scottish industries.

q     Husbandry gone mad in Europe destroying a renewable resource.

q      Regulations of CFP – sustainable development in reverse thrust.

q      Discarding, Black Fish, Industrial Fishing.

q     An unmanageable log-jam of bureaucracy, confusion, complication, manipulation and intrigue.

q      UK must regain control of its own destiny in total control of its fisheries. 

This article is presented in the hope that it may help to create a greater awareness in the business community of the issues threatening our sea fishing sector and, in doing so, to gain support for an industry the survival of which is synonymous with sustaining our environment and protecting our social well-being and thousands of jobs.  The challenge here is to achieve a semblance of understanding in a needlessly over complex subject in a brief document.  Current headline news of recent quotas and days at sea restrictions are not included here as these further industry destroying issues were covered adequately in the media. 

It is important to record that SCDI plays an active role in business development in Europe and is a staunch supporter of the EC and its enlargement, and has done much to develop the concept of subsidiarity in Europe.  With regard to fishing, SCDI has written seven major papers since 1993 submitted to UK Government Ministers and EU Commissioners recommending radical changes to the CFP in support of the UK and Scottish fishing industries.  In 2001, in a response to the EC Green Paper on the future of the CFP, SCDI having pressed for the decentralisation of CFP management through Zonal Management, recorded complete dissatisfaction and disagreement with the Green Paper’s judgement that it “does not foresee the formal participation of stakeholders in the decision-making process, either at Community or at Regional level”.  As Zonal Management should have been attainable without treaty alteration – the EU having adopted the principle of subsidiarity – SCDI saw the 2001 Green Paper as heralding the final disappearance of any worthwhile control being passed on to the UK for its own fisheries under the forthcoming review of the CFP.  It would appear now that the wording of the Maastricht Treaty disallows subsidiarity to affect the competence of the CFP in the EU. 

The following is a summary of the disastrous affects of the CFP on UK and Scottish fishing, and what our expectations may be in its long awaited review and, above all, what we should do about it: 

In 1957, the Treaty of Rome launched the development of the Common European Fisheries Policy.  In 1970, the principle of Free Access by all EC members to all Community fisheries was initiated.  The 1970’s also saw the extension of exclusive fishing zones to 200 miles, a further development of which was bilateral fishing agreements with other Community or non-Community countries.  In 1973, the first temporary exception to the principle of Free Access was made in the negotiations for the accession of the UK, along with Denmark and Ireland.  In these negotiations, the UK 200 mile to median line, which then contained some 85 per cent of Western Europe’s fish – one of the world’s leading fisheries – was agreed as an exclusive British fishing zone.  This was reviewed and confirmed in 1983 for a further 20 years, i.e. until 1 January 2003.  This concession has always been a temporary derogation from the EC over-riding Regulation of Free Access.  Other temporary derogations were the reservations of fishing zones of up to 12 miles for vessels traditionally fishing these coastal waters, the Shetland Box, the Irish Box and Hague Preferences (for fishery dependent localities).  Catch quotas were fixed for the first time in 1983.  The accession of Spain and Portugal in 1986 doubled the number of fishermen and tonnage of the EC fleet. 

During the traumatic 30 year term served by the UK in the CFP, there was a general belief, which still prevails in many quarters today, that the doctrine of Relative Stability would protect the UK historic fishing rights and prevent the principle of Free Access from happening in our traditional waters.  This is not so as the overwhelming ruling of discriminatory Allocation Keys from 2003, i.e. NOW, will give Spain and other EC countries the right to fish in what was UK waters, in due course right up to our baselines. 

So, what we had in our fisheries before the CFP for future generations was an exceptionally valuable renewable resource if managed properly.  The following is what the CFP has done and will do to us if we don’t regain control: 

Of the many defects in the CFP we refer here to only a few of the fundamental flaws, one of which is discarding, i.e. the requirement throughout Europe to dump back dead into the sea over quota or small sized but otherwise marketable fish.  In researching previous submissions to Government, SCDI identified that 25% of all fish, and sometimes 50% of certain species, caught in the EU annually are discarded, and it is further documented that, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, over 2 million tonnes of best quality fish were thrown overboard dead every year in EU waters to keep to quota rules.  SCDI has been unable to establish current discard figures.  SCDI said repeatedly between 1993 and 2002 that fish are being systematically destroyed on an appalling scale which will ultimately result in the exhaustion of stocks in our traditional fisheries.  SCDI believes that this is one of the biggest crimes in modern practices against an otherwise renewable resource, and has urged that all fish caught should be landed.  In a mixed fishery like the North Sea, legally catching over quota fish is inevitable, so who can blame many fishermen for landing them, albeit illegally.  Another CFP inspired tragedy is that during the period of the CFP some 40% of the European industry total was in the form of illegal landings, i.e. the “black fish” trade.  And the CFP’s crazy policies creating husbandry gone mad gets worse.  For example, current CFP proposals will practically close down traditional fisheries while Danish industrial fishing will continue virtually unchecked.  One million tonnes plus an estimated 30% by catch and unofficial catches, i.e. 1.3 million tonnes of industrial fish are caught each year in the EU, 90% of which is caught by Denmark in the UK sector.  This, along with other CFP malpractices is tantamount to sustainable development in reverse thrust and, being unsustainable, SCDI has been urging a total ban on industrial fishing for years. 

Surely ending industrial fishing which is largely for the production of animal and farmed fish fodder, could be turned to advantage for Europe’s  beleaguered agricultural  industry which could enhance its diversification requirements in the CAP by producing a suitable alternative fodder base product. 

In highlighting only these few examples of the many mismanagement aspects of the CFP, it is hardly surprising that fish stocks are dwindling in CFP waters.  Considering alone the enforced crime of discarding, and the reality of “black fish”, it is no wonder that scientists and commissioners alike have difficulty in assessing what the stock levels actually are. 

Meantime, the one issue that all fishing interests agree upon is that, excepting UK vessels 700 of which were decommissioned since 1993, there are too many fishing vessels chasing too few fish in CFP waters.  Here is the final crunch in examining why the CFP has gone from one crisis to another, and will continue to do so until it drives the UK and Scottish industries under and, indeed, thereafter.  Now in 2003 the principle of Equal Access will be pursued aggressively especially by our Iberian “partners” who, along with other EU members, have been looking with envy at the UK North Sea, West Coast and Northern waters which remain the ultimate pickings in CFP fisheries. 

Few in the UK in 2003 will disagree that giving away the right to our exclusive use of our fishing grounds was too high a price to pay to join the then Common Market in 1973.  Brussels has been hammering away at our fishing industry for 30 years with ever increasing intensity so, now if we agree to the Commission’s proposals, soon we won’t have an industry which, by design or otherwise, will make room for the Southern States.  Adding credence to these worrying thoughts are recent reports of a leading Scottish fishing organisation referring to the behaviour of the Commission as “swaggering”, “bullying”, “coercing” and “deeply disturbing”, and “we are deeply deeply worried”. 

The end of 2002 “concessions” for the UK have only confirmed ruin for our industry while most of our competitors in Europe have real concessions including the continuation of fleet modernisation grants until 2006.  For Scotland, the days at sea scheme and quota reductions for the main white fish species remain disastrous.  Retaining Relative Stability means nothing.  The retention of the 6 and 12 mile limits will be reviewed in 2011, and the Shetland Box and Hague Preferences will be reviewed in 2004. 

Meantime, it is likely that Individual Transferable Quotas will be progressed and discriminatory Allocation Keys will be pursued from 2003.  In this background, Spain expects and is determined to obtain Equal Access to the North Sea without discrimination from 2003 onwards, as per the 1983 Allocation Keys for various species of fish and in accordance with their rights under their Treaty of Accession.  It is ironic, and we repeat whether by design or accident, that as the UK and Scottish industries are squeezed out, our valuable fisheries will be available to Spain and other EC members through Transferable Quotas while Relative Stability is seemingly maintained.  Equally incongruous, is that Spain and other EC members have literally been gearing up for such an eventuality through a scrap, rebuild and modernisation programme of vessels for many years and to be continued by CFP Regulation until 2006.  Meantime, the UK has been disallowed rebuilding grants and indeed even significant decommissioning funding for years by a UK ruling, while we have been the largest subscriber of funding in Europe for these facilities. 

Conclusion 

Relative Stability is not going to protect the UK fishing industry, and the pursuit by our EC competitors of what they see as discriminatory Allocation Keys is soon going to complete the destruction of the UK and Scottish industries through the CFP.  For its survival, the UK fishing industry must be released from the control of the CFP. There is a need for the various sectors of the UK fishing industry to unite, and for the several sea fishing organisations to join forces.  The time for debating has passed and there is now a need for action by Government and Scottish Executive Ministers, MPs and MSPs to pursue the real possibility of total control by the UK of British traditional fisheries within the 200 mile median line limits.  SCDI is advised that this may be achieved through a UK Act of Parliament in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982. 

SCDI Highlands & Islands Area Committee

January 2003

 

SUPPORTING THE SCOTTISH FISHING INDUSTRY 

 

Recent SCDI Policy and Consultation Submissions 

1993    The UK Fisheries Conservation Policy-

              Alternative Strategy to Government’s Days At Sea Scheme

 

1995    Further Support for the Scottish Fishing Industry

1996    Response to SOAEFD on the CFP Review Group Report

1998    Addressing Flaws in the CFP –

                Towards a Development Strategy for Rural Scotland 

 

1999     Proposals for Advance Preparation

                The CFP Review 2002 

 

2001     Options for Reforming the CFP

                The Scottish Parliament European Committee Inquiry

 

2001     Consultation Response to the EC Green Paper

                The Future of the Common Fisheries Policy

  

The foregoing 7 submissions to Government in support of our fishing industry are among 63 comprehensive policy and consultation presentations since 1993 to Government and other avenues on a wide range of issues including transport, the environment, fuel prices and tourism by the SCDI H&I Area Committee. 

Full details and copies of each may be obtained via the SCDI website www.scdi.org.uk

 

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Letter from the :-

UK INDEPENDENCE PARTYFor a Free Britain in a Free World

8th January 2003

Dear Mr. McColl 

Scottish Fishermen, their families, and many communities that depend upon fishing to survive will remember Friday, 20th December 2002, as one of the darkest days in living memory.  However, I will go further.  I believe that that day will be remembered as the day that fishing around the United Kingdom was sentenced to death.  Wednesday 1st January 2003 will be remembered as the day that that sentence will be put into effect. 

Over dramatic?  No, I don’t think so.  Let me explain.  The first date, as is well known, is the date that Franz Fischler, the European Fisheries Commissioner, announced draconian curbs on fishing in order “to conserve fishing stocks.”  According to the European Commission, cuts in cod quotas of 45% are necessary to save the industry as a whole.  Indeed. Elliot Morley, the UK’s fisheries minister has gone on record as saying, “The deal will kick start fish stock recovery.  Ministers have taken a tough decision now, so that the fishing industry has a long term sustainable future.” 

If what Mr. Morley said was true, if fishing stocks are so low, then, cuts in quotas are justifiable.  And yet… 

The problem is that the cause of the present fishing crisis lies not with the Scottish fishermen.  Neither does it lie with the fishermen of the United Kingdom as a whole.  In fact, this present disaster has been in the making since the United Kingdom, under Edward Heath, applied to join the then Common Market in June 1970.  This was when four countries applied to join – Britain, Ireland, Denmark and Norway – and there was talk of a new international extension to fishing waters from 12 miles to 200 miles.  The original six countries realised that the four newcomers would have control of the richest fishing grounds in the world – at one estimate, 85% of Western European waters, by value. 

Consequently, in defiance of the Treaty of Rome, The Six drew up Council Regulation 2141/70, giving all member states rights of “equal access” to each other’s fishing waters.  In fact, this regulation was cobbled together, and adopted, on the morning of June 30th, hours before the applications of the new members arrived (Source – The Common Fisheries Policy, Mike Holden) Right up to 13th December 1971, Geoffrey Rippon, the chief negotiator, was telling the House of Commons that “we retain full jurisdiction over the whole of our coastal waters … these are not transitional arrangements which will automatically lapse at the end of a fixed period.”  This was a blatant lie.  Heath wrote to the Norwegian prime minister asking him to follow Britain’s lead but, when the Norwegian fishing minister resigned in protest, the subsequent Norwegian referendum was lost and Norway refused to join.  Britain joined on 1st January 1973, and our fate was sealed… 

This did not affect the UK initially because our big deep water fleets of Hull and Grimsby fished in Icelandic waters.  However, Iceland sensibly, in 1976, claimed its fishing grounds and a UN resolution confirmed their entitlement.  Britain’s answer to this was to pass the 1976 Fisheries Limits Act, extending Britain’s water to 200 miles but Article 2 of Council Regulation 2141/70, reissued as 101/76, had priority.   

The European Union’s response to possible over-fishing was the system of quotas well known to fishermen of every country within the EU.  This required each to be given a maximum tonnage of each, which they were not permitted to exceed – the end result being that fishermen threw away dead fish to pollute the seas. 

However, Britain’s problems were exacerbated by the present CFP, set up in 1983 but based on fishing during the 70s, which did not take into account most of the UK’s fleet was fishing in foreign waters.  The UK, in 1983, was therefore only allocated 37% of the EU’s quota, as opposed to the 85% allowed under International Law.  Then came Spain in 1986 – with a fleet estimated to equal ¾ of the rest of the EU fleet put together.  Despite her being entitled to “equal access,” this was postponed, with the help of “favours,” until the end of 2002…This gave the EU 15 years in which to solve a problem of too many boats fishing for too little fish – this being, obviously, a “conservation” problem. 

In 1992 the Directorate General DG XIV, in the name of conservation, pushed for the reduction of fishing fleets.  Britain’s target for reduction?  19 per cent – equal to almost a fifth of her entire fleet!  Spain’s reduction (and, don’t forget, on a mush larger fleet) was 4 per cent!  According to John Gummer, Britain’s minister of MAFF, this was “a good deal for Britain’s fishermen.”  In fact, in anticipation of this, the Conservative government had already passed the Sea Fish (Conservation) Bill empowering MAFF officials to limit the number of days at sea – thereby allowing the UK to meet EU targets without having to pay compensation to fishermen who were no longer allowed to fish under EU regulations… 

It will be noticed how this word “conservation” was being used by the EU, as it is now.  It will also be noted that, firstly, it was the Conservative government that handed Britain’s seas over to the EU and that it was the Conservative government that was now going along with decimating Britain’s fishing industry.  It will also be noted that when, in 1995, a Spanish fishing vessel, the Estai, was apprehended by a Canadian naval ship with false holds, full of illegal fish, and fraudulent log books, the Conservative EU Commissioner, Leon Brittan rushed to defend our Spanish “partners.”   

We now come to the latest problem for the United Kingdom, in particularly for Scotland.  The EU is required to give equal access to all EU member states under the Common Fisheries Policy. Mothballing the Scottish fleet may make it sound like it has a hope of survival, but in reality Scottish quotas will be divided between other EU states in accordance with EU regulation 101/76. Equal access takes effect from the 1st January 2003.  This “equal access” allows the Spanish fleet to have total access to British waters. It should be borne in mind that last year, the EU handed Spain's 65,000 fishermen £200 million to furnish them with new vessels!  This, when Britain is down to an all-time low of 16,000 men!  Again, funnily enough, the Labour government has been supporting the Spanish government in its attempts to obtain “joint sovereignty” over the British colony of Gibraltar – against the wishes of 98% of the Gibraltarians! 

The Scottish National Party has attempted to make political capital of this crisis.  Alex Salmond has been quoted as saying that “common sense” should be brought into play over this issue.  He has omitted to mention that the powers of the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments to do anything about it are non-existent – it is the European Union that has control over our seas and it is the European Union that will decide the fate of the Scottish fishermen.  The only way that the fishing grounds, which under International Law belongs to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, can be saved is by leaving the CFP.  This will only ever happen when the British people decide to leave the corrupt European Union. 

In the Scottish Parliament, Jack McConnell and Ross Finnie are expected to be approached for a £50 million payout to offset costs of decommissioning of fishing boats.  If this should be granted, it will be nothing more than blood money for a once thriving industry – an industry that has been stabbed in the back time and again by British politicians – all in the name of appeasing our so-called partners within the European Union… 

Yours sincerely

Joseph W Smith

Scottish Organiser

UK Independence Party

 

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PRESS RELEASE

 

COD  CRUSADERS  UNITE WITH  FAL  TO  DEMAND NATIONAL  CONTROL

 At an open meeting of FAL members in the Peterhead Mission on Friday 27 December Carol MacDonald of the Cod Crusaders stated that she along with her fellow Crusaders, Morag Ritchie and Caroline Bruce intended to continue their campaign until they get the attention of Tony Blair. They will personally camp on his doorstep, if they have to, in order that the Scottish fishing industries receive the recognition they deserve. 

They intend to address him on the following issues: 

1.     Compensation package -- Accepting such a package is more or less admitting defeat. We should not be bought off. This is only buying time until the next round of talks until we are scrutinised yet again

COMPENSATION IS NOT A FEASIBLE LONG TERM SOLUTION. 

2.     Discrimination – We are being discriminated from the right to full time work and limitations have been set upon us from working in our own waters. 

Carol concluded her address to the meeting by stating: 

“We intend to gain a secure future for our fishing industries and the only way we can is by demanding  our Prime Minister to get us out from the EU fisheries policy and secure national control.We intend to fight on in order to gain a sustainable long term future for our fishermen and our communities.” 

Tom Hay FAL Chairman praised the Crusaders for their determination, resourcefulness and grit Their campaign was a tremendous example of what community action could achieve for a just and proper cause. It deserved the whole hearted support of the industry and businesses and families dependent on it.

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Speech by Tom Hay  

FAL Members Meeting

Peterhead Mission 27.12.02. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, this meeting of FAL members, has been called to find if at all possible, a way forward for our fishermen, against this intolerable regime of  bureaucratic foreign diktat, and oppression, which has invaded the shores of our land.  Before doing so I would just like to remind you, and perhaps surprise you of some very grim and cleverly concealed facts. 

In "Fishing News" 8th November this year, the Chairman of the Fisheries committee in the EU Parliament, Struan Stevenson stated categorically that the draconian proposals, which have now become a reality, had nothing whatever to do with conservation. 

They were he said part of a European "federalist" agenda to hand over the bulk of European fishing to Spain.  The Commission will exploit scientific recommendations, he continued, to close down the British white fish sector as a golden opportunity to help them meet their target capacity cuts in one fell swoop, and thus enable Spain, with the EU's largest fleet to dominate the fishing industry. 

He was absolutely right, although FAL was surprised that the Chairman of the Fisheries Committee had taken so long to reach this conclusion, since he had been briefed twice by John Thomson, Roddy and myself on this very matter.  Furthermore the Commission had warned the industry on the 11th June 1992 that the way forward as envisaged by the Commission for the re-structure of the industry would involve thousands of fishermen losing their jobs. 

At that time fish of all species and sizes were plentiful on most if not all of the fishing grounds in the North Sea.  Sadly however through clever manipulation by persons within the industry, this ominous threat was quickly downplayed, and finally forgotten altogether. 

The Spanish Treaty of Accession makes it absolutely clear that from 1st January 2003, Spanish fishermen as well as Portuguese will enjoy "Equal Access" without discrimination to a "common resource" in all "European" waters beyond the 12 mile zone, including the North Sea.  It is also clear that the legal experts of the Council Working Party agree with this analysis.  This decision is being hailed a great success in Spain.  In reference to the exclusion of Spanish and Portuguese fleets from the North Sea for 16 years, Fisheries Minister Miguel Arias Canete said the European Commission had finally put an end to discrimination against the Spanish fleet in Community waters.   

Some observers believe the decision may not be enforced until June 2003, but Spanish fishing authorities said that on 31st December 2002 all EU regulations that "established differential treatment for Spanish and Portuguese ships" will expire without the need for any official announcement by the European Commission. 

Let us not be deceived yet again.  Political assurances to the contrary are only temporary partial deliverances from the exacting legal demands of the Treaties.  The Treaties are brutally clear.  All fish within the waters of EU maritime nations are a "Common resource" to which all EU states have an "Equal Right of Access".   Everything else is a cruel deception, intended to soften, temporarily, the force of the real disaster for British fishermen, until they are judged to be so weakened that they will be unable to resist the continuing treachery of those disloyal politicians who are eager to sacrifice British fishermen on the altar of their fantasies of a "United Europe". 

The savagery of the cuts in Quota, and the limited amount of days per month our fishermen will be allowed to go to sea, has been camouflaged by Herr Fischler and sadly, no doubt under pressure from his political masters, by Elliot Morley in a skilful and cynical manner to justify their quite fictitious claims of a desperate conservation based crisis in cod stocks.  They have assumed that this unscrupulous attempt to conceal their disgraceful and ruinous plans to destroy the British fleet and thus make room for the Spanish, the Portuguese, and new entrants such as Poland and the Baltic States in 2004, would be readily accepted by fishermen just as some of their leaders, who have fallen for this clever trick for years, have done. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, as everyone here knows, FAL has been engaged in a long and bitter struggle for the truth.  This was the issue that brought about the establishment through proper democratic channels, of this Association.  The truth was being withheld from British fishermen. 

Those who seek to justify the disgraceful surrender of one of our greatest national assets, have found no expedient too contemptible, and no deceit too mean, in their desperate efforts to conceal the grim reality of what has been done to our fishermen, and to our people, to whom those vast stocks of fish within our legally held Exclusive Fishing Zone rightly belong. 

British fishing grounds, British fishing rights, and British fish stocks are the indisputable possession of the British people according to International Law.  No politician had the right to surrender their property without their consent.  But they did. 

Can we really expect our so called European Partners to whom we have given such valuable Treaty guarantees to negotiate their cancellation, and thus surrender their assurance of unfettered access to some of the richest fishing grounds in the world?  I think not.  The stark reality which faces our fishermen is that they have to be driven out to let the others in.  

FAL  has researched this matter exhaustively in conjunction with "Save Britain's Fish", and on the basis of the most authoritative legal testimony.  We are thoroughly convinced that the only way possible of rescuing the British Fishing Industry from certain disaster, is through the restoration of National Control by a United Kingdom Act of Parliament, over these waters legally under our jurisdiction in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982. 

Ladies and gentlemen there is no other way!

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EU Council’s Legal Opinion
On Access To Waters

 

The Council’s Legal Service was asked recently what the situation would be as of 1 January 2003 concerning access by Spain to waters beyond the 12 mile zone.

In their Opinion dated 29 October 2002 the Legal Service stated that the current regime which regulates Spanish operations in EU waters expires as from 31 December 2002 and that as from 1 January 2003 Spain, as well as Portugal, will enjoy equal access to waters beyond the 12 miles zone

As regards the 12 mile zone if the Council does not decide on a further repeat of the derogation from the equal access principle which has been continued now since 1972 in successive 10 years exemptions, then the normal rule of equal access would apply in the 12 mile zone.

If there is to be a derogation then it must be based on

  • Objective criteria and
  • be limited in time

The Council’s Legal Services are of the opinion that the first condition is met as there are objective factors linked to historical and traditional fishing patterns and the special needs of inshore fishing.

However the Proposal for a Council Regulation on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources under the CFP does not currently provide for a limitation in time. As such the second condition cannot be met.

In other words all those who have been clamouring for the 12 mile limit to be made permanent (which we have always stated was a legally flawed argument)  must surely now recognise that they have been wide of the mark in targeting that goal. Will they admit it. Hardly likely when this information has not been made freely available by the Scottish Executive, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and our politicians both in Westminster and Edinburgh. 

Why has that not happened?

What is their hidden Agenda?

 Why has the truth (about the real origins of the disaster awaiting our fishermen and the communities dependant on them – equal access to the common resource to meet the demands for political, economic and social integration contained in the EU Treaties) not been told except by FAL/Save Britain’s Fish? 

We have been warning for years that anyone who studies the EU Treaties is bound to come to the conclusion that the British fishing industry has to be wiped out, to make way for the introduction throughout all EU waters of the principle of "equal access" for all EU fishermen after 2002.

FAL has been accused of being a merchant of gloom and doom but the accuracy of FALs analysis and comment has been proved to be correct without question

No British Government can protect the UK Industry’s future while we remain in the EU fisheries policy.  We must get out of it and secure national control. No matter what anyone says there is no legal or Constitutional obstacle to our doing so.

When will the realisation dawn that to remain within the CFP, to have competence for fisheries under Brussels control, has resulted in the destruction of  many vulnerable communities.

It is a strange fact that those who tell the truth are seen as trouble makers while those who ignore the truth carry on regardless with their policies which are calculated to deceive.

 

R A McColl

Fishermen's Association Limited

17 December 2002

 

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Dear Sir 

Big Brother is Watching !

When Big Ben brought in the millennium, did it herald the beginning of a Brave New World, or a new dark age of total government control and the final removal of our freedoms? 

From midnight on 31 December 1999 I have been subject to constant satellite surveillance.  Every two hours my position on the planet has been transmitted to the Government.  The installation and cost of transmission must all be met by me! 

Why?  What have I done to warrant this electronic tagging?  I am not a paedophile, drug dealer, murderer, gun runner or released IRA terrorist, neither do I cruise Clapham Common, trade in porn or smuggle booze.  Nor am I a burglar, mortgage swindler or an illegal immigrant.  In fact I have never even had a parking ticket. 

My crime?  

I am a fisherman, a so called "enemy of the environment"!   

In 30 years at sea I have never caught a whale, destroyed a dolphin, killed a seal or dumped nuclear waste, but I have been forced by the EU to dump hundreds of tonnes of edible fish in the name of 'euro-conservation' CFP style. 

Every year UK  fisheries ministers trot off to Brussels on their "Yuletide trek" to win us another "best possible deal" - ie. more surveillance, less fish; more paperwork, less fishermen; more policing, less boats. 

We started the 20th century as the greatest maritime and shipbuilding nation the world had ever seen; look at the pathetic position we have been reduced to now. 

In the space of one generation of European partnership we have become neither British nor European.  So much of our unique culture and heritage has been legislated away.  Our fishing grounds were given away. 

Our fishing and coastal communities are rapidly becoming plastic heritage sites, yachting marinas and pretty industrial museums. 

Rule Britannia has been replaced by euro-serfdom.  The love of country and belief in Britain as a sovereign free nation (with its own fishing grounds) is now called "xenophobia" by politicians and civil servants riding the euro-gravy train, with their snouts deep in the Brussels trough. 

Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup, Judas betrayed his Lord for 30 pieces of silver.   

How much did they get for the British fishing industry?

George Stephen

St Combs

Aberdeenshire

 

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WHAT DOES  SFF  STAND FOR???

Extract from letter by Robert Allan  Former Chief Executive and Secretary SFF to Fishing News 22 August 1997

 “For the avoidance of doubt let me make it clear that the SFF does not accept the view that the present CFP will come to an end in 2002.”

 Extract from Press & Journal 23 September 1997

 Mr Allan said : “ The claim that the SFF has accepted that the present CFP will come to an end in 2002 is opposite from the truth. I have never at any time said this and it is simply not true. ” 

He said that the Trade Press had misquoted him and that some people had seized on this and made mischief out of it – a clear reference to the Save Britain’s Fish movement

COULDN'T BE CLEARER

BUT...........

 Extract from SFF Year Book and Diary 1994 

“The History of the Federation 1973/93”

“ a deal was eventually struck in January 1983 which would subsist for a period of twenty years… with these shares ( i.e. Relative Stability -Editors explanation) again being fixed for a period of twenty years”

AND

 Extract from “Message from Chief Executive of the SFF”  1994 Diary

“…. the basic CFP Agreement was recently reaffirmed as operable until the year 2002.” 

And they have the hypocrisy to complain about the U turning Commissioner

 FAL  stands for....

Facts Against Lies

 

   What does  SFF stand for ...??

                                                                                    

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   A HIDDEN AGENDA

“More behind stocks decline than fishing"
 
 
  
 
Fishing News Editorial headline 21 September2001)

 

In June this year Tom Hay Chairman of this Association said :-

“My Association is not taken by surprise at whatever measures, however ruthless the  Commission may introduce for the achievement of the European ideal i.e. the political integration of the new nation called "Europe".

We have been warning for years that anyone who studies the treaties is bound to come to the conclusion that the British fishing industry has to be wiped out, to make way for the introduction throughout all EU waters of the principle of "equal access" for all EU fishermen after 2002. “

Now it has come to our attention that there appears to be a deliberate suppression of information regarding the environmental factors that play such a significant part in fish abundance.

Scientists have been aware for at least the last decade of a change in the dynamics of certain fisheries and have studied the environmental linkage. Within the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) the GLOBEC programme was established to “study those environmental and ecological factors that relate directly to the present inadequacies in fish stock evaluation.”

It concluded fairly quickly that the calanus, (similar to a water flea) had a pivotal position in the North Atlantic ecosystem and the surrounding seas.

Calanus forms the basic feed of many fish including Cod. The relationship between the two is demonstrated in the recruitment statistics for calanus which mirror the peaks and troughs of Cod abundance. A link has been established between the North east and North west Atlantic fisheries failure due to the calanus failure. Fish abundance, growth and recruitment are all affected by calanus abundance.

“Fish in the North Sea annually consume about 20 million tons of calanus demonstrating its central position in the marine food chain but calanus abundance has almost halved in the last 30 years due to climate and oceanographic changes in the North Atlantic. This decline in a primary food source has serious implications for the survival rates of larval cod and thus on stocks as a whole….. It is one thing to cut effort on a stock which is in trouble, but another thing to set up a cripplingly restrictive regime to “ rebuild” a stock which cannot be rebuilt because the decline is caused by natural processes”. (Fishing News Editorial 21 September 2001.)

All of this is well known to the Fisheries managers and their scientific advisers but, despite knowing that it is not overfishing alone which has caused the current problems, it is only fishermen who have been targeted and forced to accept a five year Cod Recovery program with no guarantee that the plan will improve the cod biomass and result  in future increased TACs.

So what is the real reason for  this plan?

Deceit is the well tried weapon of the Commission, and of successive British governments. It has brought them remarkable results up to the present in many fields.

The Brussels bureaucracy have cleverly engineered the current crisis in the fishing industry. They calculated that British fishermen should be led towards the establishment of a single European Union fishing fleet, on a non-discriminatory basis, with no increase in fishing effort, without ever knowing what was happening.

They believed that this could best be accomplished by successive steps, each cunningly camouflaged to emphasize the need for conservation (which they thought would appeal to everyone) but which when taken together would inevitably and irreversibly lead to the annihilation of the British fleet.

The introduction of closed areas, drastic cuts in quotas, while at the same time making demands on our fishermen to dump thousands of tons of prime quality fish all dead back into the sea, a practice which they have been forced to adhere to for years, has nothing to do with conservation.  It has a far more sinister objective than that.

It is a deliberate policy of inducing British fishermen to be the unwitting agents of their own extermination. 

RA McColl

2 October 2001

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KNOW THE TREATIES  

 For a campaign group from the Fishing Industry, it might seem a strange title, ‘Know the Treaties’, but if you don’t know the rules you are working under, how can you find any solutions ?.

We therefore have to go back to the 1957 Treaty of Rome, known as ‘The Treaty’.

 From this everything else stems. Out of this flowed the Regulations and Directives.

 The EU system is a very different system to that in Great Britain. The Treaty was the seed, and the seed germinated, all blossoming from the original seed.

 In British law, this germinating would be new legislation, either adding to, or taking away existing legislation. In the European Union it is one continual growth.

 Fishing is such a wonderful example, because only hours before Great Britain applied to join what we were told was a ‘Common Market’, the six Nations created the Regulation for Fisheries based on the equal access principle under which each Member State shares their fishing zone with each other on an equal basis.

 This building up of Directives and Regulations is known as the acquis communautaire. To date there are around 25,000. This is what a new Member State has to except in full, without exception, other than for transitional periods.

 In Fishing we have had, by a very long way, the longest transitional period of any sector - 30 years, and that will terminate at the end  of 2002.

 These transitional periods are known as transitional derogations. They are there to smooth the transition to the acquis communautaire. They are set for a given period of time, and can only be renewed, no longer than the original derogation, either by qualified majority voting, if there is no form of discrimination, or unanimity if there is discrimination.

 It is a formidable method of power building.

  Since the Treaty, we have had a series of Accession Treaties-- the British, Danish and Irish in 1972, the Greek in 1979, Spanish and Portuguese in 1985, and the Austrian, Finnish & Swedish in 1994.

There is something very sinister about these Accession Treaties. It is not just the new Members who accept the acquis communautaire in full, so do the existing Members, who actually endorse once again their adherence to the very latest acquis communautaire.

That original seed is growing, some would say into a monster, a monster that needs feeding, and that feeding is enlargement.  But only - only if they accept the acquis communautaire. Everyone here knows a seed grows, reaches its prime, and then starts to die.

 There are other Treaties besides Accession Treaties.

 Luxembourg, which you will know as the Single European Act.  

Then Maastricht, the one that nearly destroyed the Conservative Party.

 You have all heard of John Major’s ‘opt-out’. That was an abrogated derogation. It is an area of new legislation, not already in the acquis communautaire, whereby if a Member State can get the agreement of the other Members, then is allowed, before the Treaty is

signed, to opt-out of that particular section. But as we have seen, opt-outs can be handed in by the next Government and gone for good.

 Then we came onto Amsterdam, again amending ‘The Treaty’ - Rome. I think ‘adding’ would be a better word. Amsterdam laid to rest the unrealistic belief in subsidiarity, and proved once again the deception in making out something was different to what it actually was.

 Now we have the present Inter Governmental Conference, expected to be conclude with the Treaty of Nice. Will that destroy the Labour Party ? After Nice there will be very little left from which to opt-out.

 It is pretty horrendous stuff.

 Some politicians will tell you:  That’s it. We are in. There is nothing we can do about it.

 They are either ignorant or deceivers, and I will tell you why.

 As in all good films, the cavalry arrive in the nick of time. Along comes the good old British Constitution, the one the European Union want to do away with, replacing it with their constitution, masked by using other titles and for a very good reason.

 Unfortunately the good old cavalry are under attack. It is time they counter-attacked.  All of you can help.

 The electorate, if they want to keep democracy, must challenge the Parliamentarians. Every European Union Treaty, and the legislation that flows from those Treaties, works through a British Act of Parliament.

 Remember Great Britain signed the Treaty in January of 1972. The Act of Parliament for that Treaty to operate under was not passed until the October of that year. So from January to October 1972, the Treaty of Rome was as effective in Great Britain as a chocolate fireguard.

 Without the British Act, no European Union legislation can work.  What is the bed-rock of the British Constitution ?

  ‘No Parliament can bind its successor’.

 That means no future Parliament is bound by what a previous Parliament has done, or signed up to.

 Yes, we all like to blame Sir Edward Heath, but the blame lies equally with every British Parliament since, and today it rests with the present one.

 The Conservative Heath administration on Fishing deceptively allowed the equal access principle to become established in Great Britain, which was then for the 12 mile zone, but it was a Labour administration in 1976 that created, then gave away our 12 mile to 200mile/median line zone. However subsequent Parliaments are equally to blame, including the present one.

It is up to each individual MP. Each MP, irrespective of Party, has the right to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ whether or not he or she wants to carry on with none, part, or the 

whole of the European Union legislation within our Nation which legislation operates only because of the British Act.

 We are held under the dominance of European Union Legislation, because the majority of Westminster MPs wish it to be so. The responsibility rests entirely on their shoulders. Westminster can add, amend, change or delete, any part of an Act it likes. In fact Westminster can do what it likes, except for one thing:

 It can’t permanently give away the sovereignty of Great Britain.

 It is no good any Westminster MP saying we are bound by the Treaties, and all the legislation, for ever. Or if we want to take anything back from Brussels to Westminster, we must ask the other Member States.

 No, the debate and decision is taken in Westminster, that is what MPs are elected for. Any MP who disagrees is abdicating  their responsibility, and their obligation to the electorate.

 That doesn’t mean to say we should not negotiate/discuss/debate with our European Union partners, but the final decision rests with Westminster, squarely on the shoulders of every MP.  

Fishing is a prime example.

 If Westminster MPs want to keep under Brussels control the British Fishing Zone of 200 miles or the median line, let them say so. Let them tell the people they agree with giving the people’s resource, which was bestowed on them by International Law, to another Nation, in which they want to be absorbed to form a new Nation.

 Let them tell the people.  

 It then becomes the people’s choice whether they want that or not.

 But they don’t.

 They pretend they believe in the Nation State--the individual Nation within the European Union BUT at the same time and behind the peoples’ backs, they give away the Nation of Great Britain, although they have no permanent constitutional authority to do so.  These are the people who are betraying this Nation and the people of this Nation.

 Why don’t they tell the truth ?. 

Because they don’t want ‘us’ the electorate to know the truth.

 And then we have those who say they are going to do this or that, but never say how.  If they can’t say how, why then should they be believed ?

 The Prime Minister on 1st. September 2000 called for the truth concerning the European Union.

 Well Prime Minister  this Parliament, the last, and previous ones, have lied on fishing issues about

  • Our joining arrangements into what we were led to  believe was a Common Market  

  • The assured safeguards which did not exist (As confirmed by Sir Con O’Neil’s  notes)

  • The 50 mile exclusive British Fishing zone which never materialised

  • The Six and Twelve mile Limit

  •  Third Country Agreements

  • The Present quota system share-out

  • The Permit system

  • Zonal Management  (until caught out by a leaked  document)

  • What really happens in 2003

  • What the Treaties really mean and represent

  • And most recently, the discarding dead of prime fish back into the sea 

Officialdom and the establishment lie, lie, and continually lie. 

Thankfully there are truthful Members of Parliament, who know and understand their obligations, and try to carry out their duties as best they can, despite the Party machine.

 Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope the leaflets we are giving out at Conference  are of help to you, so you understand how the system works.

Challenge the MP’s and the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates:

 “Would you support reversing European Union legislation by using your Parliamentary powers within domestic legislation ?” 

  Those that say ‘Yes’ well and good.

 But for those that ramble on, the answer is ‘No’.

 Most of these will try to gain power by deception.

 That deception is to give yours and my Nation away and with it the British Fishing Industry thereby continuing the social and environmental evil we have had to bear as an Industry, where we are forced to teach our youngsters to lie and destroy, all for the creation of furthering deliberate integration by stealth, into this superstate of a new European Nation.   

As has happened in Denmark, it is only public pressure that has forced the pro-Euro camp into telling the truth.  

We will have to take our senior Politicians kicking and screaming to the altar of truth. But it is those Politicians that are discrediting themselves, because the Public know these people didn’t admit the truthful facts in the first place. They are therefore either incompetent, or deceivers.

 The whole effort and direction of the Save Britain’s Fish Campaign has been to tell the truth to the people. It is then in your hands to put the pressure on those senior Politicians of all Parties.

 Tell the truth, so the electorate can make a choice based on honest facts.    

How  TREATIES "WORK"

In the United Kingdom, any European Union Treaty is valueless without a British Act of Parliament endorsing it. It follows, therefore, that if it takes an Act of Parliament to enact it, another Act of Parliament can repeal or amend it.

There are those who state a European Union Treaty can only be amended or repealed with the agreement of all the Member States. What is really being said is that one member can be locked in forever because it is to the advantage of the others to keep it there.

If this argument was correct, it follows that the only way a Nation can break a Treaty or reassert sovereignty is through force.

This is not the case. No future British Parliament is bound by it predecessor. A new Parliament has the right, through the British Constitution, to close the drawbridge of a previous Act of Parliament, either in part or in whole. Therefore, areas of control that have been passed to Brussels, which has been done by amending the European Communities Act 1972, can be reversed by the British Parliament alone.

Another way is under the Vienna Convention on Treaties. This is itself a Treaty to which the United Kingdom has assented. There are specific procedures whereby, given proper notice, any country can give notice of withdrawal, or modification, of a Treaty to which it is party, if it is seriously disadvantaged by that Treaty.

Those who say a European Union Treaty is permanent unless agreement is obtained from all parties want to keep the British people bound to those Treaties. They are actually pursuing a Federalist agenda whilst deceiving the British people that they are not.

 

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Save Britain’s Fish 

·          The European Union Fisheries Policy has been a social and environmental disaster 

·           The Reason: 

·           Its driven by a Political Integrationist Policy imbedded within the Treaties 

·            In the UK’s Treaty of Accession UK waters were handed over to the EEC to be shared by every other Member State equally and without discrimination 

·      This policy which is fully supported by the current Government will be complete by 2003 

·     Any proposal by fishing organisations or politicians (such as zonal or regional management) which goes outside the UK’s Treaty obligations requires unanimous agreement by all Member States  

·     National Control--- is the only way the UK Fishing Industry can be salvaged from extinction  

-     Nothing less will stop the horrendous practice of dumping prime fish dead back in  to the sea 

-    Nothing less will reverse the rapid decline in the numbers of  UK vessels 

-     Nothing less will stop the decimation of the coastal infrastructure

Regional management of fisheries within the EU where competence for fisheries lies with Brussels is nothing more than a talking shop. Regional management cannot be accomplished as the Amsterdam Treaty explicitly rules out decentralisation of power to Member States. To demand this shows only the most minimal understanding of EU institutional structures.

 The CFP cannot be reformed. 

The only solution to the crisis facing the British Fishing Industry lies with the UK Parliament.

National Control of the British 200 mile/median fishing line.

 

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Fish and Fishermen Need your Help!

British Fishermen wish to regain control of the waters within 200 miles, or to the median line from the British Coast.

They Know the importance of conservation.

They Know that small fry must be left in the sea to grow and spawn.

They Know that this is the only way to retain the natural life support system of the planet.

They Know that this is the only way to conserve fish stocks for future generations.

As an Island people, the British know these things only too well!

What you Should Know about the CFP

In 'Eurospeak' our waters are classed as a 'common natural resource' accessible to all Member States of the European Union. With the introduction of the Community fishing permit scheme not later than 31st December 2002, Britain's fishing fleet will be told where to fish, when to fish, and how to fish, not by its own Government but by bureaucrats in Brussels. Bureaucrats formulate policy and ask for approval by the Council of Ministers. The Member of the Council trying to protect our interests is the British Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. But because he is only one of fifteen such Ministers, and the others are only too keen to get their hands on our fish, he has a very difficult job.

The majority of fish under Brussels control are in British waters, yet British concerns go unheeded. For 26 years British fishermen have voiced their concerns about the future of Britain's fish to no avail. Why must we grin and bear it when Britannia is being pulled beneath the waves?

Forced to Waste Good Food!?!

Why British Fishermen are being forced to Waste Good Food

The Common Fisheries Policy has created quota restrictions that don't work. Thousands of tonnes of mature fish are caught each year, but because they are the wrong fish we have to dump them back in the sea dead. What has such a system got to do with conservation? Most schoolchildren would know that such practices are bad! Most of us care enough to want to preserve the world for future generations. We must ensure the careful husbandry of our fish and the even handed management of all fishing fleets. With your help Britain can regain control of the waters around her shores and allow us to do this. We cannot accept that the destruction of the British Fishing Industry is the answer to the problem.

The Quota system is putting British fishermen out of business. Remember that for every job on a fishing boat, six more are created ashore. One of Britains oldest industries is no longer safe - Is yours? Save Our Soles... cod, haddock, hake, herring... The European Union is doing nothing to conserve fish.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) supports industrial fishing, a method which denies millions of small fish the chance to spawn even once in their lives! For many years British fishermen have campaigned against industrial fishing to no avail. Danish boats continue to destroy the feed stock for young fish and birds and suck up our valuable fish for cattle feed and soap. Instances of Spanish boats being apprehended with vast quantities of under-sized fish on board are all too common. With your help the British fishermen can continue to fish, help preserve stocks and deal with vital conservation matters.

Sole Destroying

Thanks to the work of the British media you have probably already seen the evidence of foreign boats catching fish that are too small. With the EU, the minimum size of Sole which we are allowed to catch is roughly 24 cm. Compare this to the Spanish 'anything goes' minimum size, roughly half EU standards! Some Spanish (and French) fishing boats catch these tiddlers by using illegal nets. "I have seen heaps of under-sized fish on sale on Spanish markets," said the late Derek Allard, a Grimsby Fish Salesman, "I am horrified." The same thing happens with other sorts of fish all the time. This is another reason British fishermen have to take action - and they need your help.

Help us to Save Britains Fish!

SAVE BRITAIN'S FISH IS SPONSORED & SUPPORTED BY THE FISHERMEN'S ASSOCIATION LTD