Vicky Ford MEP

Member of the European Parliament for the East of England

06 FEB 2013

Local MEPs help bring about major reform of fishing policy

MEPs for the East of England voted today to finally end wasteful fish discards and ensure sustainable fishing across our seas.

The European Parliament voted on reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy. For local Conservative MEPs Geoffrey Van Orden and Vicky Ford this follows many years of campaigning. They believe this is the beginning of new hope for the East Anglian fishing industry.

The reforms voted today include ending the discarding of healthy fish, bringing more decision making back to the UK from Brussels and enforcing a legal commitment to sustainable fishing.

Vicky Ford said: "I hope this will be the time when the tide finally changes in favour of fish and sustainable local fisheries instead of Brussels-based lunacy. The EU quotas systems which mean perfectly edible fish are thrown dead back into the sea is morally abhorrent and I'm very pleased that they will stop. Furthermore, I have seen how cod is labelled "local" in Lowestoft when actually it has been caught by huge freezer-trawlers in Russia. In the meantime our local fishermen who are in small boats have no discards, they use lines not nets, which are the most sustainable methods, and yet the Brussels quotas mean they are not allowed to catch the fish. This is madness. I only hope these reforms are not too late for our local fishing fleet."

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP added: "The Common Fisheries Policy has consistently failed to protect either our fish or our local fishing industry. Under the existing regime there are often more inspectors and bureaucrats at our fishing ports than there are fishing boats. This vote will start a process of returning decision making from Brussels to Britain and addressing the needs of our local fishermen. It will end discards, ensure that EU vessels fishing outside of the EU also abide by these regulations, and bring back decision making power on how to allocate fishing rights."

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My Political Priorities

Economic Stability must come first. Without a strong economy we can not deliver a strong society. I work with businesses and consumers to keep Britain open for business, cutting red tape, boosting trade opportunities and helping to deliver jobs and growth for all.

I support Science and Research which is key to delivering better medical care, healthy food as well as the Innovation and Creative Industries which bring improved lifestyles for all our families.

Strong home Security is vital in today's uncertain world, which requires robust policing and defence and deep international relationships that we can depend on. I work with others to achieve this.

I care about the Countryside and the Environment and making sure that rural and urban communities flourish.