Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, this proposal highlights the desperate state of some of our fish stocks and underlines why it is so important that the Commission and the Council get the reform of the CFP right. There must be no bowing to political pressures. They must ensure that the objective of sustainable fisheries is at the core of fisheries management. While I accept that recovery plans for hake must be specific to that fishery, I do not believe that hake should be excluded from the proposal. As to the details of the proposal, I have some concerns to highlight. Firstly, the Commission must take greater account of mixed fisheries which are impacted by recovery plans. Crucially I am not convinced that the Commission has learned the lessons from the dangers of displacing effort, as we saw in the north of Scotland last year. The Commission must ensure that scientific advice is reliable and verifiable, not just in determining what areas should be closed but determining the effect of such closures. The removal of ceilings on financial contributions under the FIFG is to be welcomed. But the Commission has failed to propose a system which ensures that there is equal treatment of fishermen subject to recovery measures and that it is not promoting unfair competition between fishermen from different Member States. I hope the Commission will heed the committee's amendment calling for Community funding which is not dependent on co-financing to compensate fishermen under these plans. Safety is of paramount importance. While public aid for modernisation and renewal should not be a bottomless pit, it should be available for improvements to safety. A combination of ageing vessels and days-at-sea restrictions could be a lethal combination. It is vital that safety be taken into account when measuring the impact of recovery plans and, for that matter, fisheries management in general.

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