Regional management would be the best way to run the fishing industry in Europe and overcome current “systemic failures”, according to a new report from a body set up by the Scottish Government to devise alternatives to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
The interim study by the Inquiry into Future Fisheries Management (IFFM) complains of the annual “gladitorial” battles over quotas that occur in Brussels each December and that “fishermen experience the worst aspects of the current regime”.
It will be presented to the Scottish Fisheries Council on Tuesday as the Holyrood government devises its response to the consultation process over the green paper on reform of the CFP published earlier this year. The green paper suggests devolving management of the industry to producer organisations.
Scottish fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead said: “The inquiry’s interim report has highlighted the fundamental flaws in a discredited Common Fisheries Policy that is crippling our fishing industry.
“The energy and effort that the inquiry has put into this authoritative report is clearly evident. It identifies the key challenges and proposes a positive way forward. This is the first meaningful contribution to the debate on the future of the CFP that we have seen from anywhere in Europe and it merits serious consideration.
“This report will help us develop our response to Europe’s Green Paper on the future of the CFP and, longer-term, help us decide how we can best manage our seas once we regain control of fisheries policy.”
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, welcomed the report, saying: “No-one should under-estimate the real urgency for a major overhaul of the Common Fisheries Policy.
“There must be greater regional control of fisheries management and a transfer of responsibility to those best able to exercise it.”