Recreational fishing to fall within the Common Fisheries Policy?

A proposed EU regulation that would bring recreational fishermen under the direct control of the Common Fisheries Policy will be fought tooth and nail by Conservative MEPs, Struan Stevenson, Conservative fisheries spokesman in the European Parliament, said today.

The commission has proposed a regulation that aims to ensure countries comply with the Common Fisheries Policy. Article 47 of the regulation would require recreational fishermen to register their boats, and whatever they catch would be counted against the fisheries quota for that country. Each country will also be required to allocate what share of its quota for each fish species will be available for commercial and recreational fisheries use.

The proposal is expected to begin its passage through the European Parliament later this month, with a final vote expected in April. Conservatives will be submitting amendments removing recreational fishing from the regulation.

Mr Stevenson said:

"Recreational fishing is a simple pleasure that would become a bureaucratic nightmare if these plans become law.

"This kind of draconian approach would do very little to assist in the recovery of fish stocks, yet it will cause a great deal of damage to tourism and the whole fishing sport.

"If the European Union is serious about acting to protect fish stocks in the EU, it should launch a fundamental overhaul of the CFP, not target an ancient hobby."