A Voice For Fisheries Reform – Struan Stevenson

You’ll Know Their Virtue By Their Opponents
I have known Struan Stevenson MEP for many years. He’s a hard working, middle of the road MEP on the fisheries committee, who has the ear of Carmen Fraga MEP.

It was interesting to see his letter of response to a WWF mail to constituents.




—– Forwarded Message —–
From: STEVENSON Struan <struan.stevenson@europarl.europa.eu>
Sent: Thursday, 25 October 2012, 17:23
Subject: Re: Vote for a prosperous fishing industry and healthy seas


Dear constituent,

Many thanks for your email. I completely agree that the current Common Fisheries Policy has been a failure. We are in the midst of CFP reform negotiations in the Parliament and have a real opportunity here to ensure that we get the radical reform that we have campaigned so hard for.

There are many issues at stake, including regenerating the ever depleting fish stocks. As you say, two thirds of EU commercial fisheries are over-fished. Discards play a big part in this over-exploitation and we fully support an end to this wasteful practice. However, we must ensure that the discard ban is workable and does not end up with us moving from discarding at sea simply to discarding on land. Instead of finding new markets for the extra 1.8 million tonnes of unwanted catches, we should firstly aim to use more selective gears to keep these fish in the ocean. The discard ban should therefore go hand in hand with a tougher approach on selective gear to ensure that the unwanted catches are not caught in the first place. In addition to the ban, we should incentivise fishermen who practice sustainable fishing and ensure that Member States provide the required data on stocks. Insufficient and inaccurate data is one of the causes of overfishing. If we do not know European stock levels, we cannot manage them effectively when deciding TACs and quotas.

We must also aim to achieve maximum sustainable yield (MSY), which would be based on a system that obtains the best from the productive potential of living marine resources, without compromising its use for future generations, i.e., the amount of fish that we can safely take out of the ocean without affecting the stock. We must aim to achieve MSY by 2015 where possible and by 2020 at the very latest. This will ensure that all fish stocks will have recovered to acceptable levels and fishermen will have had the necessary time to adjust to the new approach. We must work with scientists and stakeholders to come up with workable legislation that conserves fish stocks for future generations and which provides for a sustainable fishing sector. MSY will be an important factor in this scenario.

We are also fully supportive of fisheries management plans that involve all stakeholders and are based on a regional basis. We would like to see an end to the micro-management from Brussels that has bedevilled the sector for decades, in favour of meaningful regionalisation which would see the day to day management of fisheries being devolved to the regions that share the same sea-basin. Regionalisation therefore lies at the core of the CFP reform package and it is essential that we have a basket of management options from which member states can choose. This way, each state can use the most appropriate management option for their fisheries basin. Scotland and the UK have already shown the way on national systems of fisheries management through the Conservation Credits Scheme which has been a success in the North Sea.

I am the rapporteur on one of the main legislative CFP reports, the Common Market Organisation and as such, am responsible for steering this through the Parliament. The reforms contained in my report devolve day-to-day management responsibility of fisheries, introduce better labelling on fisheries products for consumers and provide a strengthened role for Producer Organisations. We received almost unanimous support at both the committee and plenary vote and are awaiting the next round of trilogue negotiations.

Please be assured that I fully support ambitious and radical reform to ensure both a sustainable ocean and a sustainable industry.

Best wishes,


Struan Stevenson MEP


Labour’s proud record – Tom Harris MP Standing Up Against Vested Interests

You’ll Know Their Virtue By Their Opponents

When the SFF attack you, you know you are on to a good thing.

Bertie Armstrong, my fellow Northern Irish representaive for the Scottish Fishing Industry (SFF) attacked Labour’s Tom Harris MP.

Labour Party – Standing Up For What’s Right

The Labour Party, which I am proud to have been a member since the age of 15, was set up to protect the interests of working men and women and take on the interests of powerful vested interests.

Former Labour Minister, Ben Bradshaw MP, helped me in my time at WWF, in the fight against Blue Fin Tuna and making sure that the rules of the CFP were applied.

A Very Close Relationship

It is well know that sections of the Scottish Fishing industry have had a long relationship with the SNP. Indeed, you only need to sit in on December fishing council talks to see the SNP political advisers and Minister huddle down with fishing barons over in Scotland House and provide them a direct line to the Fishing Council. If a Minister had such close relations with say the oil industry he would find it hard to explain that flow of contact during what are meant to be secret governmental talks.

You can read the attack here:


Economic Madness in Luxembourg

The UK, Germany, Sweden last night stood firm against pouring more taxpayers money down the fisheries subsidies drain.

A stream of fishing ministers had spent the night chanting the economic plans of North Korea and demanded more subsidies to support their pet projects and rich fishermen.

You can listen to the debate @

It is painful, although less so than the pain inflicted by the incompetence of many of europe’s fisheries ministers.

Helping Rich Fishermen – Taxpayers Giving to the Wealthy

Corporate Welfare 101

You hear of the idea of corporate welfare and when you meet it your still shocked.

Tonight, European fishing ministers are meeting to thrash out a deal on the reform of the billions of euros we – taxpayers – give fishermen each year.

21st Century v 1937

Some countries want to reform the current broken system. Denmark, Sweden, Austria, the UK and Germany even have the idea that taxpayers should only help fishermen with money if they are moving towards sustainability.

They are in a minority. Most countries still have a very 1950s, or dare I say it, 1930s, view of the world. Governments job is to pay for the boats building, modernisation, fuel and scrapping. Belgium and  Portugal fall into this camp.

Subsidies Higher than Wages

The economic tragedy is that the average subsidy for each fishermen in many countries is higher than the average wage.

Feed the Rich

You can visit http://www.facebook.com/RichEuropeanFishermen to see the real winners of fishing subsidies.