Common Fisheries Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th May 1976.

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Photo of Mr Robert Hicks Mr Robert Hicks , Bodmin 12:00 am, 6th May 1976

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals his Department has put to the EEC Commission for the reorganisation of the common fisheries policy.

Photo of Mr Edward Bishop Mr Edward Bishop , Newark

The EEC Commission has submitted to the Council two working documents containing its suggestions for the development of the common fisheries policy in the light of likely changes in international law. Her Majesty's Government have indicated their readiness to accept these as a basis of discussion while making it clear that they would not fully meet the needs of the United Kingdom industry. The Commission's suggestions will be discussed further by the Council in the near future.

Photo of Mr Robert Hicks Mr Robert Hicks , Bodmin

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that the Government, having already surrendered the initiative, will accept nothing less than an exclusive coastal band of 50 miles for our own fishermen? Will he confirm that earlier this week British negotiators established this requirement for all our coastal waters, including those off Devon and Cornwall?

Photo of Mr Edward Bishop Mr Edward Bishop , Newark

I reject the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that we have in any way failed to do our duty in the negotiations. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has been making our position quite clear in Brussels, and he will be making a statement shortly. He has said that we want to ensure that any variations of the limits have regard to historical and regional factors. When I was in the South-West two weeks ago I heard the representations of our fishermen, and our case will be deployed effectively in Brussels by all the Ministers concerned.