Yesterday there was a short debate on the Common Fisheries Policy. The short time for the debate prevented me from making a speech. Had I been called, I would have said something like this:
“Today is groundhog day. For 38 years this House has held regular debates on the Common Fisheries Policy. MPs often have cast aside their party differences. They have forgotten their varying prejudices and viewpoints. We have frequently united to condemn the Common Fishery Policy.
We have condemned the chronic waste of fish with the demand to discard dead fish in the sea in the name of conservation. We have condemend the collapse of the UK trawler fleet as the policy has degraded our fishing grounds. We have complained that the policy has left us short of fish, with dear offerings in the supermarket.
Ministers of various parties have usually sympathised. They have told us their aim is to reform the policy. They tell us they will go to Brussels to negotiate a better deal. We are often told about the EU in general that we need a place around the table in order to have influence.
38 years of having a position of influence around the table has not yielded a Fishing Policy we are proud of, nor even one we can accept. Many of us have concluded that the only answer is to regain control over our own fishing policy. Some of us would like the UK to say it will enact the return of our fishing grounds if we do not get a reform we can accept.
The Common Fishing Policy has made the UK Parliament powerless in this field, and left successive governments impotent to create rules for a successful UK fishing industry. It should be a warning not to allow the EU similar control over other matters. When they run a policy, it causes decline and unemployment.