Ritchie secures Westminster Fisheries Debate
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie MP has led calls that have secured the annual fisheries debate in Westminster.
Speaking about the debate Ritchie stated, “I am delighted that we have secured this year’s fisheries debate but it is somewhat regrettable that the British government no longer support this debate in the main chamber and that must be timetabled through the Backbench Business Committee.
“For years our fishermen, including those in Ardglass and Kilkeel in my own constituency, have faced draconian catch limits and increased pressure on their businesses.
“It is hoped that the reform of the CFP including a move towards more realistic quota allocations will be forthcoming, particularly for the vital nephrop and cod stocks.
“The reformed CFP must display a greater sensitivity to local needs through a process of regionalisation. Also as the discards ban is introduced there must be a degree of practicality shown towards local fishermen.
“Many have already demonstrated their commitment to equipment modernisation measures and the authorities should work with them by introducing a degree of flexibility as the policy is introduced.
Ritchie added, “I will certainly be working closely with the local industry ahead of this debate and will be calling on our representatives in Brussels including our local Minister to deliver a fair settlement for all those who make a living from our waters.”
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