HC Deb 23 June 1994 vol 245 cc313-4W
27. Mrs. Gorman

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what she is doing to preserve British fishing rights.

Mr. Jack

The common fisheries policy, which was established in 1983, took good account of United Kingdom interests in all the major stocks around our shores. We also, at that time, reduced the access rights of other member states in our coastal waters by nearly three quarters. Since then, the Government have continued to protect British fishing interests. More recently, the United Kingdom has led the successful opposition to the European Commission's "blank cheque" proposals for future access by Spanish and Portuguese fishing vessels to the waters of other member states, and we ensured that detailed rules must be drawn up within a tight framework of safeguards which have been agreed by the Council. These rules protect our quota shares and require that there shall be no increase in fishing effort in areas subject to the Spanish and Portuguese accession treaty. For other areas, including the North sea, any proposals for access would have to be for non-quota species only and take account of track record. The outcome of the negotiations on Norwegian accession to the common fisheries policy also protects the interests of British fishermen, with relative stability assured and no reduction in United Kingdom fishing opportunities. Indeed, we have increased fishing possibilities for cod at North Norway.

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