Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, anything which is designed to encourage and foster closer dialogue is to be welcomed and closer dialogue with the fishing and aquaculture industry is something that must be encouraged. But not only the industry; we must widen the dialogue to include associations which are active in the environmental and development fields and allow for an increased role of specialised research bodies. A two-way flow of communication must be encouraged, not just one-way communication. My party has always advocated greater consultation with the industry. Indeed, a key advantage of a regionally-based approach to the CFP would be the involvement of those directly affected, the fishermen themselves, in the decisions which affect them, thereby furthering the goal of conserving fish stocks through sustainable fishing and offering long-term viability for the fishing-dependent communities within Europe. In addition to any reform of the Advisory Committee as part of the current Europe-wide assessment of the CFP, we have another opportunity for Europe to find better ways to involve fishermen in the execution of fisheries responsibilities, by expanding the principle of regionalisation. Involving the industry and other interested parties in the localities would provide a system which more adequately reflects the needs of the fishing industry and promotes, rather than hampers, compliance with the CFP. Ensuring that we have proper consultation with civil society too, in particular fisheries and environmental NGOs, will ensure that the Community fisheries policy adequately reflects the aims of conservation and sustainable development in the fisheries sector. But NGO involvement needs to be meaningful, not just token, and we need to work hard to ensure that is the case. Integrating those engaged in fishing-related industries into the decision-making processes and supporting the fishermen are prerequisites for the success of any future fisheries policy and an essential element of the CFP. Yesterday, we had some controversy over parts of the Cunha report, particularly the suggestion of quota penalties. If we are to have meaningful consultation then this is exactly the kind of proposal which ought to be consulted upon and I regret that my motion to allow time for that was not successful here. I hope that we can learn from these mistakes and mean it when we say – as in this report which I support – that we want to improve communication and liaison with fishing industries and those affected by fisheries.

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