Sandy Patience, FAL’s Chairman, acknowledged the effort that Mr Benyon and his officials had made at the 2010 December Fish Council given all that was stacked against the UK in having to meet the maximum sustainable yield commitments of the Johannesburg Agreement.Are you paying attention? The real Common Fisheries Policy, as defined by the various Regulations pushed through illegally under the wrong Articles and not put into the treaty until that little affair at Maastricht, is equal access right up to the shore. That will kick in in 2012 and precious little can our fishermen do about that. Do all those let's-jump-on-the-bandwagon campaigners who have suddenly realized there are problems with the way fishing is conducted know this? Mr Benyon does now, because he has been told by Mr Patience. Will he remember it long enough to try and think his way round the problem?
However he reminded the Minister that it was the Tory administration in 1972 which had surrendered our national fish stocks to the EU to be managed under a Common Fisheries Policy, which to date, as far as British fishermen are concerned has been nothing short of a disaster.
He urged the Minister to persuade the Prime Minster to visit fishing constituencies and hear from the grass roots of the hard working people who make up the industry and then give the same commitment as Mrs Thatcher did to defend British fishing rights when she was Prime Minister.
However Mr Patience reminded Mr Benyon that the real Common Fisheries Policy – the principle of equal access to the common resource cannot be reformed and with 2012 rapidly approaching and therefore the end of the present derogation, the Commission must necessarily introduce measures upon our fishermen, in readiness for the implementation of the full thrust of that principle as demanded by the Treaties.
Actually, he does not have to think about it at all. There is that policy, discarded by the Boy-King when he became leader of the Conservative Party, all ready to hand.