Memorandum submitted by the South Wales
Sea Fisheries Committee (T16)
Thank you for the opportunity to comment further.
Herewith a very rushed and summary response, and enclosure which
is a report written to a target sea angling audience, but which
summarises many aspects in a practical capacity. This response
is from the South Wales Sea Fisheries Committee. It reflects our
particular circumstances, ie a cut in funding recently implemented
which takes us back 10 years in budget, whilst at the same time
experiencing an increase in demand for services, firstly through
greater environmental powers (1992, 1994 and 1995 legislation)
and secondly through greater public awareness of the marine environment
and the plight of failing UK fisheries.
The Association of SFCs will, no doubt, provide
their own response.
I also enclose a summary copy of an independent
report [not printed] into fisheries in Wales, commissioned by
the National Assembly from Nautilus consultants and the SWSFC
response. Such an initiative is an important first step in obtaining
recognition of the wider importance of UK fisheries management,
from which further priority and measures may originate.
Our summary view of UK fisheries management
in 2001 is unlikely to have changed from previous views, namely:
1. The CFP is a blunt tool which has failed
to stem the decline in EU fisheries. The recent "green paper"
recognises this, and some remedial action points, namely:
Fish stocks, especially shellfish
and especially in inshore water, must be managed regionally and
devolved to National States. 0-12 miles is considered a minimum.
Fishermen should be involved in the
decision making process.
The passing of ownership from public
to a limited number of private individuals should (in theory)
enhance management through encouraging a long term "farming"
rather than "hunting" type outlook.
2. Inshore waters are extremely important.
They are the nursery grounds, sensitive to pressure (pollution,
human), and support many small businesses (labour rather than
capital intensive) which are non-mobile, and provide employment
in areas which have few employment alternatives.
ie Are more important to the fish stocks, the
environment, the economy and the rural way of life than a straight
consideration of size would indicate.
3. We believe that the EU and member states
must consider how:
(1) to devolve the management of this area
entirely to member states.
(2) that can apply fishery management rules
to all vessels that fish within this zone. Currently member states
can only apply rules to their own nationals. This undermines any
(3) They can give the political priority
(therefore resources and will) to ensuring the effective management
of this area, taking into account a long term, planned, holistic
and precautionary viewpoint.
4. To this extent, we believe that:
(1) The EU must put in place the structure
and support to allow devolved management to National States, and
this must filter down to all participants.
(2) National States (UK, England, Wales)
(1) Recognise the importance of the coastal
(2) Provide for appropriate legislative
powersmuch fisheries legislation dates back to the late
1800s, and fishing methods have evolved somewhat since then!
(3) Provide the funding for enforcement,
management, research, aquaculture, and phased means, to reduce
"fishing pressure" in the short term and subsidy of
participants, in order to promote stock recovery leading to withdrawal
of subsidy in the future.
The Association of SFCs' Report "2000
and Beyond" awaits a response from both government and the
devolved administration in Wales, and could provide a useful model.
5. What the government must not, with respect,
do, is follow the recent action of the National Assembly of Wales,
(a) Allowed government to pass on additional
environmental responsibility and costs to Sea Fisheries Committees,
including the SWSFC.
(b) Sanctioned a cut in real terms of 30
per cent to the SWSFC.
(c) Did so in a manner in which is believed
to be ultra vires the presiding legislation.
(d) Without due debate, and in advance of
considering at least four relevant reports demonstrating the need
for effective management and highlighting the role of Sea Fisheries
6. The effective management of marine fisheries
is a horribly complex and difficult business. If it were easy
most stocks of fish world-wide would not be in the dire position
they are now. At the end of the day, making a success of failure
will require the political will to make things happen. We are
yet to see any obvious signs of this. We feel that this is a crying
shame, because the seas can be effectively managed to provide
huge, ongoing benefits to societyand not just those who
eat fish or live by the sea.
1 May 2001