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Lisbon Treaty Ratification means Fisheries Policy Reform - Bowles

October 7, 2009 5:15 PM

Sharon Bowles, MEP for Sussex, has welcomed the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by Irish voters as a good sign for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Up until now Europe's fisheries policy has been decided in secret by EU governments at annual closed-door meetings. Now under the Lisbon Treaty the European Parliament will have a right to legislate on Fisheries just like other areas of EU policy.

Sharon Bowles said: "This is a major step forward because it means that if MEPs don't like what the Commission comes out with on Fisheries Policy, we can reject it and it will not pass. Fishermen can now directly lobby their MEP to push through changes, and have their voice heard.

"We will now definitely see the end to the destructive discards policy which has done so much to damage Europe's marine health. I will additionally be pressing hard under the new Treaty for a better deal for Sussex's neglected under-10 metre fleet.

"This should have been the way things were done all along. But it has been what Treaty opponents such as UKIP and the Tories have been opposing."

Sharon Bowles has been raising the plight of Sussex's under-10 metre fleet at European and national levels. Current UK rules mean that fisheries quotas have been unfairly distributed to large producer organisations at the expense of small boats.

The European Commission has already begun work on Fisheries Policy reform, and is seeking public consultation. This can be done online at http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/reform/consultation/index_en.htm.

Sharon Bowles is urging Sussex residents involved in the industry to send in their views.

"This is the biggest opportunity in years to change this area of European policy, so everyone who works in and cares about our fisheries industry should get involved. It's open until the end of the year, so take half an hour out of your day and fill it out."