Hudghton (ARE) - Mr President, I should like to thank Mr Gallagher and other speakers for their generous tributes to my predecessor, the late Dr Allan Macartney. He initially drafted this report to contribute to the current Europe-wide assessment of the achievements and failures of the CFP. In September last year Mr
Gallagher kindly agreed to take over responsibility for this report and I should like to put on record my appreciation of his efforts in steering it through the committee. The original draft was based on the premise that the common fisheries policy is, and from its inception has been, partially regionalised. The draft looked at how more local involvement in resource management and conservation measures might best be achieved and called for the existing regionalisation to be consolidated and expanded through the creation of regional management units. Like Allan Macartney, I firmly believe that bringing the decision-making process closer to those who are most affected by the CFP and are responsible for its implementation would lead to more respect for the provisions of the CFP and for a more successful policy per se. I would therefore like to call for greater involvement of fishermen and the fishing industry as a whole as an essential prerequisite to the success of the CFP. Complementary to involving the fishing industry in the decision-making process is the need to heed the concerns of the fishing industry as a whole under the banner of regionalisation. The causal link between the fish caught in a given region and the industry it supports within that region can be easily undermined. This was brought home to me last week when I met with fish processors based in my constituency. They expressed concern that fish caught in that region are not always landed there. Therefore, essential jobs in the processing industries in what are clearly fisheries-dependent areas are put at risk. Consequently, I should like to stress the importance of Article 12 of the resolution. The time has come to consolidate what de facto exists and to expand the principle of regionalisation of the CFP to all Community waters. This step is necessary if we are genuinely to involve fishermen in the decisions which affect them and offers the only clear and practical means of recognising the unique variables that exist in the fisheries sector. I am in no doubt that regionalisation would further the primary goal of conserving fish stocks through sustainable fishing so vital for the fisheries-dependent communities of Europe. At the committee stage Mrs Ewing and I successfully tabled a number of amendments to ensure that the fundamental principles of the CFP such as relative stability are not undermined. My group has now tabled amendments which complement the consistent regionalisation of the CFP and ultimately will help to secure a successful future for the policy. Regionalisation already exists, albeit in an ad hoc and inconsistent manner. These amendments address that anomaly and stress the importance of involving the fishing industry within the Advisory Committee on Fisheries. I would urge the House to support these amendments and the report as a whole.