Few aspects of the European Union have been more disastrous than the Common Fisheries Policy. This is the scheme that caused a quarter of the fish caught being thrown dead back into the water – a waste of a million tons of fish a year worth around £1.6 billion. It all represents a very bad deal for the UK – 70 per cent of the fish caught in our waters are allocated to fishermen from other EU states.
The Conservative manifesto in 2005 included seeking to pull out of the CFP. It is rather doubtful as to whether that could have been achieved.
The manifesto for this year is able to be rather emphatic and credible:
“Decades of profound economic change have left their mark on coastal communities around Britain. We will continue to work to ensure these communities enjoy the vitality and opportunity they deserve. In England, we will extend our successful Coastal Communities Fund to 2022, helping our seaside towns thrive.
“When we leave the European Union and its Common Fisheries Policy, we will be fully responsible for the access and management of the waters where we have historically exercised sovereign control. A new Conservative government will work with the fishing industry and with our world-class marine scientists, as well as the devolved administrations, to introduce a new regime for commercial fishing that will preserve and increase fish stocks and help to ensure prosperity for a new generation of fishermen. To provide complete legal certainty to our neighbours and clarity during our negotiations with the European Union, we will withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention. We will continue our work to conserve the marine environment off the coast of the United Kingdom.”
The CFP has been an ecological catastrophe and has amounted to the betrayal of one of our finest industries. It is welcome that, among other things, Brexit will mean our withdrawal from such an iniquitous arrangement.