The Conservative Party has launched a new fishing advisory group, with the aim of restoring national control over the industry.
The initiative was pioneered by John Whittingdale, the Shadow Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, who has announced plans to visit major fishing communities around the British coast before unveiling a new policy based on managing the UK fishing stock nationally.
Organisations from all over the country attended a launch meeting at Westminster, including the Scottish White Fish Producers, The Fishermen’s Association, the Shellfish Association, Folkestone’s Fishermen’s Association, the South Western Fish Producer Organisation, non-sector Inshore Fishermen, the Northern Producer Organisation, The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, Northern Ireland Fish Producer Organisation, and the Cod Crusaders Campaign.
Describing the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy as a disaster, Mr Whittingdale declared: “I am delighted that so many leaders of the fishing industry across the country are willing to help us. I am also very encouraged by the measure of agreement about key issues and how they must be tackled.”
Key issues under discussion were ways of managing fish stocks nationally, how to develop a selective fishing policy using modern scientific methods, exploring new methods of controlling fishing activity and banning industrial fishing instead of the current EU quota system, and eliminating discards and black fish.
Mr Whittingdale told conservatives.com: “We will now visit a number of fishing communities across the UK to talk directly to those involved. In time, we expect to visit other countries that already have successful national management schemes. In the long term we will come forward with details as to how a Conservative government will establish a management scheme outside the CFP.”