So how do we go about putting our fishing industry back on its feet?
First, as we exit the EU in 2019, we also withdraw from the CFP and, invoking the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, restore our historic fishing limits. These are territorial waters, extending 12 miles from our coastline and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending 200 miles from our base line or to a median line with a neighbouring state.
Quotas have been an environmental catastrophe. When they were doled out in 1983, we had 80 per cent of Europe’s fishing waters but got an allocation of just 37 per cent by volume – representing perhaps as little as 12 per cent by value.
So secondly, we have to scrap the pernicious CFP quota system and in doing so, end the practice of “discards”. This sees perfectly good and healthy fish thrown back into the sea dead because a trawler has exceeded its quota for a particular species of fish. A trawler may well have to stop fishing and return to port even though it is below its quota for other types of fish.