Food giants, WWF urge dynamic CFP reform

04 Oct 2010

In a public demonstration of unity, EU, UK and Scottish fisheries political leaders joined UK businesses and conservationists on Friday 1 October to discuss the need for progressive reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

In the meeting, three of Europe’s largest processors - Findus, Icelandic and Birds Eye Iglo – alongside WWF discussed reform of the CFP with EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki, UK fisheries minister Richard Benyon and Scottish fisheries minister Richard Lochhead.

Commissioner Damanaki and ministers of EU member states and EU Parliamentarians face the challenging task of accomplishing a reform for the CFP that is both forward-looking and acceptable to all, by 2012.

During the meeting Damanaki said: "I have been extremely impressed by what I've seen and heard during my visit. I am now even more convinced that when fishermen, industry, scientists, governments and NGOs work together it is possible to deliver fisheries that are both sustainable and profitable.

“With the assistance of strong industry and environmental leaders like those I have met here I would like to deliver a reform throughout Europe that will secure a future for fish and fisheries alike, as well as the marine environment that supports them."

WWF, Findus, Icelandic, Birds Eye Iglo and M&S are members of an alliance that is calling for the CFP reform to make effective ecosystem-based long-term management plans mandatory for all EU fisheries by 2015, the introduction of effective regionalisation, maximising the value from catch to the consumer and ensuring that CFP principles apply to all fisheries in EU waters and beyond.

Peter Hajipeiris from Birds Eye Iglo said: “We would like to see CFP reform as a genuinely practicable contribution to sustainable fisheries development in order to meet the EU’s consumer need for sustainable fish on a long-term basis. This will provide a profitable future for the entire supply chain in the long run. We agree with our industry colleagues, WWF, the commissioner and UK and Scottish governments that the time for these changes is now.”

Ian Hagg from Findus said: "We have to enable regional stakeholders to have real influence. This will ensure stronger partnerships are in place to develop and implement long-term fishery management plans. This will deliver local ownership and a long-term perspective."

Nigel Edwards from Icelandic UK said it is vital that that the same rules apply to all European vessels wherever they fish.

Andrew Kuyk of the Food and Drink Federation (which represents businesses like Findus, Icelandic and Birds Eye) said: "The principles set out by WWF in collaboration with European processors and retailers represent an important signal to policy makers about the direction reform should take.” 

Richard Luney from M&S said the retailer’s business plan is dependent upon sustainable fish stocks and a marine environment capable of supporting these.  “It is for this reason that we are keen to help deliver as strong a reform as possible,” he said.  

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