I was delighted to open the annual Fisheries Debate as the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Fisheries Group.
I have been involved in fishing for so many years now and I have noticed as an observer and then participant of these debates from 2010, the message is the same each year - fishermen are struggling to survive and the fleet is getting smaller.
I would ask you to spare a moment to pay tribute to those brave fishermen and women who put to sea in sometimes the most dangerous of conditions to bring a fry to our table. I would also like us to remember those who have paid the ultimate price in the course of their daily work over the past year and did not return to their families. My heart goes out to their loved ones and I can say from my own experience that I know how they feel.
I would also like to pay tribute to the RNLI, Coastguard, National Coastwatch Institution and the Fishermen’s Mission.
Former leader of the Conservative Party, Michael Howard said “From a British perspective, the Common Fisheries Policy has been a failure: it has led simultaneously to the dwindling of fish stocks and the near-destruction of the British fishing industry.”
He continued, “That which no one owns, no one will care for. The first step towards regenerating fisheries as a renewable resource is to establish the concept of ownership. That is why an incoming Conservative government will immediately negotiate to restore national control over British fishing grounds, out to 200 miles or the median line as allowed under maritime law, with sensible bilateral deals and recognition of the historic rights of other nations.”
The Shadow Fisheries Minister at the time, the Hon Member for North Shropshire drew up an over 30 page Green paper entitled Consultation on a National Policy on Fisheries Management in UK Waters - A Conservative Party Green Paper in January 2005.
At a recent debate called by Lib Dem Alastair Carmichael, there was cross party support for fisheries to be included in the EU renegotiations being carried out by the Prime Minister.
That is why I asked the Minister to make a simple request on behalf of Cornish and British fishermen and ask the Prime Minister to make this inclusion in his negotiations. It is not a case of fish know no boundaries but more of the words of his boss at the time - That which no one owns, no one will care for.
The Full debate can be read here:
The Full debate can be viewed here: