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The meaning of words and the Common Fisheries Policy

  “It is a good time to look to the future of our fisheries.”

if it is “a good time to look to the future of fisheries” as the European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, said when he announced that a full evaluation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will be undertaken, Is it to be a definitive, serious, examination, a full review resulting in changes to the Common Fisheries Policy, so much-criticised as unfair and damaging to the Irish fishing industry?

After so many years of criticism of the CFP by Irish fishing organisations, without any positive response to requests for a full review of the Policy, why now?

The Commissioner made his announcement in Bruges, Belgium, on Monday, March 25, at an “informal meeting of Fisheries Ministers” which discussed the future of EU Fisheries and Aquaculture and the key actions needed to help the sector address challenges, of which there have been many during his five-year term in office. The Irish industry has sought a full review of the CFP, a policy that has been damaging to the Irish fishing industry, restricting its catching allowances, while conceding much bigger ones to other EU Member States in Irish waters than the Irish fleet.  

So, is there, at last, realisation in the EU Council that Ireland has been badly treated under the CFP? The Commissioner announced a ‘full evaluation’ – not a ‘review which Ireland has sought, backed by a Government-approved report which strongly criticised the CFP.

It is necessary to consider two words-

‘Evaluation’ is defined as – “the process of judging or calculating the quality, importance, amount, or value of something…”

‘Review’ is defined as – “a formal assessment of something with the intention of instituting change if necessary…”

Irish fishing organisations have, for a long time, sought a full ‘review’ of the CFP. The EU Commissioner has  resisted calls for a CFP ‘review’.

The Commissioner’s Role Is Coming To An End.

There has been a cautious welcome from Irish industry leaders to his announcement, mixed with suspicion and disbelief of the intent.

In the context of political changes in these times, one can reflect that if the Irish Government were to seek the role of European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, it would be positive for the industry, a massive boon to the economy, future food supplies and to the nation widely, bearing in mind also the concentration these days on climate change and the importance of the oceans in energy renewal, wouldn’t it?

Read a full analysis in the April edition of the MARINE TIMES newspaper.

Tom MacSweeney

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