Both sides of the Christmas break have seen intense activity at Westminster as the Fisheries…
Drift Net Ban: NFFO Directs Withering Fire on “Irrelevant Brussels Committee”
The NFFO has said that an obscure Brussels Committee which has expressed support for a blanket EU drift net ban “should be put to sleep.”
At its 501th plenary session, the EU Social and Economic Committee approved a report which slavishly follows the Commission’s proposal for a total ban, citing environmental damage as the justification; and saying that the European Fisheries Fund should be used to address any problems caused by fishermen losing their jobs.
NFFO Chief Executive, Barrie Deas, said “We don't have to worry too much about what the Social and Economic Committee says. It is an irrelevance; an out of date aberration ignored by the Commission and practically everybody else. It is an obscure body, mainly comprised of employers and workers representatives; it costs a fortune; is out touch and was only created to fill a perceived democratic void in the period before the European Parliament obtained any teeth. It should have been put to sleep a long time ago.”
The Committee’s role is to express an Opinion, which the Commission and co-legislators can ignore with impunity and regularly do. Because the Committee has no knowledge of, connection with or interest in the fishing industry it will have appointed an arbitrary “expert” who will have shaped this report. I know how the Committee works, as years ago, I was asked to be the “expert” on the Technical Conservation Regulation. It is a lazy, arcane and essentially pointless process.”
“It is extremely important that the many small-scale and sustainable drift net fisheries around the coast are allowed to continue unmolested and I believe that we are making progress - with the Commission, with the European Parliament, with the member states and with the advisory councils – in bringing to the fore their importance and essentially benign character. We must see this through to a satisfactory outcome. The views of this irrelevant committee won't affect the outcome one way or another.”