Ritchie welcomes vote on Commons Fisheries Policy reform
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has welcomed the European Parliament’s vote in favour of reform of the Commons Fisheries Policy.
Speaking to Newry Times, Ritchie said, “I have witnessed day-in day-out the problems that the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy has caused for the local fishing community in my own constituency. It was ineffective and out of touch and this reform is a long time coming.
“Through the EFRA Select Committee I have pushed for meaningful reform of the CFP and it is encouraging the see this move through the European Parliament.
“It is important that as discussions and negotiations continue in the Council of Ministers and the Commission that we build a policy that is fit for purpose and reflects the contribution that the fishing industry makes to the economy while including the necessary environmental protections.
“It must be recognised that the local industry in the north of Ireland has made positive moves to create a sustainable future for their business and reduce discards through measures such as gear improvements.
Ritchie added, “Indeed one of the critical factors that must be enshrined in the reform is a greater degree of regionalisation which will make the policy responsive to local needs and those closest to the local marine environment. Our fishing industry simply cannot afford another 20 years of failed EU policy.”
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