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20th March 2005



Brady: Outrageous to allow Spain to police fishing grounds


In response to the announcement by EU Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers that the European Agency for Fishery Control is to be based in Vigo, Spain, Shadow Europe Minister, Graham Brady said:


“It is outrageous that the body that’s supposed to police our fishing grounds is being given to Spain. Spain’s fishermen are devastating our seas. The Common Fisheries Policy has been a disaster for the environment and for our fishermen. It’s a classic case of where Brussels has too much power.


“The real mystery is why Mr Blair agreed to the deal in the first place and why he wants to give the EU more control over our lives in a host of other areas.”


Shadow Agriculture Minister, Owen Patterson, said:


“Following the revelation that Spain recently used illegal drift nets and discarded 65% of fish caught, it seems completely perverse that the Government is allowing fishing to be directed from Vigo.”



For further information, please contact the press office on 0207 984 8121 or David Hart on 07951 574 137.



Notes to Editors


The Spanish have up to 50 Spanish flag vessels that regularly string out over 5,000 miles of gill nets off the west coast of Ireland and the west coast of Scotland.


They anchor at depths of between 200 and 1200 meters and leave, sailing back to port to land their fish and leaving the nets unattended. Each vessel uses up to 250km of gear. 


They collect the nets 4 to 10 days later when thousands of tonnes of sharks and Monks and other species are rotten and unfit for human consumption. The Spanish then dump around 65% of the catch along with an estimated 20 miles of gear per vessel per trip.


These nets continue to ghost fish, causing untold environmental slaughter in our deep waters. Because this is all happening in deep water outside the 200 mile limit, no-one seems able to control them and the Spanish Minister seems to be unwilling to take action.