Dodds on course to land cod deal

DUP party leader Arlene Foster and MEP Dianne Dodds pictured with Jim Wells, DUP South Down candidate on a recent visit to a boatyard in Kilkeel.
DUP party leader Arlene Foster and MEP Dianne Dodds pictured with Jim Wells, DUP South Down candidate on a recent visit to a boatyard in Kilkeel.

The DUP’s Diane Dodds MEP has welcomed the endorsement by the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee of her report on future of the EU’s Long Term Cod Recovery Plan.

Last week the committee voted by 19 to 1 to approve Mrs Dodds’ proposal for a radical overhaul of the plan, which maintains safeguards for cod stocks, while at the same time easing some of the burdensome and impractical measures that had been imposed upon fishermen since the original plan was introduced eight years ago.

Mrs Dodds said: “I really do want to acknowledge the cross political support for my proposals. My report will now be voted on by the full European Parliament in September or October and I see no reason why it cannot be enacted in time for the annual end of year quota negotiations in Brussels.

“In practical terms my reformed plan envisages targeted cod fisheries in the North Sea being subject to a discard ban from 1 January 2017, something that had already been agreed by member states with a direct interest in that fishery. In addition all of the technical measures that have been introduced by fishermen aimed at reducing the by-catch of cod will continue and at the same time so-called effort control restrictions will be removed.

“It is my sincere hope that assuming these measures are acted upon in December then national administrations will implement them. The removal of effort control or days at sea restrictions will negate one layer of bureaucracy that many fishermen have to cope with.

“EU fisheries regulations shall continue to have an impact upon our fishermen and entire fishing industry until Brexit is secured. Until then it is clear I have a job to do in Brussels, in representing the best interests of our fishing industry.”