HC Deb 17 July 1995 vol 263 c969W
Mr. David Porter

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy to seek to withdraw from the common fisheries policy and establish bilateral fishing deals with the relevant maritime neighbours; and if he will make a statement. [34393]

Mr. Baldry

Withdrawal from the common fisheries policy is not an option, either legally or practically. Our obligations as a signatory of the treaties of Rome and of Maastricht include recognition of the EC's authority to legislate for fisheries, and of that legislation's direct application in all member states. Because of the over-capacity of national fleets and the fact that fish stocks do not respect national boundaries, international co-operation on conservation management is essential. Our membership of the common fisheries policy ensures, through our involvement in the negotiation of technical conservation measures, that the fish we want to catch are protected while they are developing in other countries' waters. Without our participation in the common fisheries policy, the UK industry's access to export markets to other EU member states, worth around £550 million in 1994, would be called into question.