Select Committee on European Communities Eleventh Report


B. CASES WHERE EFFECTIVE SCRUTINY HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE

28. PROPOSAL FOR A COUNCIL REGULATION FIXING, FOR CERTAIN FISH STOCKS AND GROUPS OF FISH STOCKS, THE TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCHES FOR 1997 AND CERTAIN CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THEY MAY BE FISHED.

Letter from Elliot Morley MP, Minister for Fisheries and the Countryside, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  I am writing to let you know that the above proposal was agreed during the Dissolution prior to consideration by your Committee. I enclose an Explanatory Memorandum (EM) on the proposal, which was agreed, in amended form, at the Fisheries Council on 14-15 April and adopted as an A" point at the 21-22 April Agriculture Council [not printed].

  The proposal concerns the allocation between Member States of 1997 Community quotas for (i) Atlanto-Scandian herring in international, Community and Third Country waters, and (ii) horse mackerel in the North Sea and Western waters. The Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery was scheduled to open by 1 May at the latest, while fishing for the two horse mackerel stocks had already commenced by that date. This proposal was therefore considered, as a matter of urgency, by the Fisheries Council on 14-15 April.

  The Council decided not to proceed with an allocation of horse mackerel quotas. This part of the proposal will therefore be discussed further on a future occasion. However, the Council agreed a revised proposal to allocate the Atlanto-Scandian herring quota between Member States. The UK voted against this because the allocation did not reflect recent fishing patterns and our quota share was lower than was considered justified.

15 May 1997

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to Elliot Morley MP, Minister for Fisheries and the Countryside, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

  Thank you for your letter of 15 May informing me that the above proposal was agreed at the Fisheries Council on 14-15 April.

  Whilst I understand the reasons for urgency, I am most concerned that effective scrutiny of Total Allowable Catch proposals has once again been impossible. You may be aware that I wrote to your predecessor, Tony Baldry, in December last year when I urged the Government to seek improvements in the Commission's handling of the TAC proposals in future years to enable national parliaments to fulfil their proper scrutiny functions[8]. I should be grateful for your assurance that this is a matter which you will raise with our European partners.

4 June 1997

Letter from Elliot Morley MP, Minister for Fisheries & the Countryside, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  Thank you for your letter of 4 June.

  I share your frustration that the Commission tables proposals concerning Total Allowable Catches (TACs) shortly before the deadline for a Council decision and I shall raise this matter with Commissioner Bonino.

23 June 1997


8   Printed in Correspondence with Ministers, 5th Report, Session 1996-97, p 30. Back


 
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