Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I support the motion, but will my hon. Friend make this point clear to me: presumably, she would want the British Government to be able to get rid of the much-hated and stupid discards policy and be free to decide ourselves how to conserve stock?
Miss Anne McIntosh (Thirsk and Malton) (Con): I am going to be very methodical and discuss discards later, as we have some interesting things to say about them and I hope that hon. Members from all parts of the House will elaborate on the matter.
On the treaty base, I hope that the Minister has now had the opportunity to analyse what we are proposing. This is the first time anyone has identified what is staring us in the face—that all we have to do is amend the regulations, which form the whole context of this round of the common fisheries policy reform. The feedback we have had from the fishermen we have consulted, as well as from the Danes and others, has been very positive.
It is important to recognise that the little fish do not swim around with a Union Jack on them. Much as I would like to say that the fish outside Filey have a Yorkshire flag on them and the fish in the Scottish waters have the saltire on them, they do not; they swim across the various waters. So it is absolutely right that the Commission should retain some competence in this area, and I, for one, do not wish to reopen the treaty base that gives exclusive competence on the resources to the Commission. By allowing the coastal states that neighbour the individual fisheries to take the day-to-day management decisions, we will save a lot of the Minister’s time every December, as things will be managed on a more regular basis. The approach will be much more local, it will be based on science and it will be about working more closely with the fishermen.
Mr Redwood: Nor do the fish swim around with an EU flag on them. We should accept that it is our fishing resource if it is in our wider waters—we have to pay the bills, so we should be responsible for it.
Miss McIntosh: My right hon. Friend has put his finger, possibly inadvertently, on the nub of the issue. This is a shared resource and we need to conserve it. The Committee has gone through things and we have identified many ways in which we believe we can do that.