Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-05-29-Speech-3-053"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, I represent a country whose history revolves around fishing and the sea, and which still has a total of around 50 000 jobs in the fisheries sector as a whole. The first criticism I have of the Commission proposal is that it does not take account of the diverse make-up of the European Union's fishing fleet: some countries’ fleets consist mainly of large vessels used for industrial fishing and other countries which have predominantly small vessels. In Portugal, 90% of the present fishing fleet consists of vessels less than 12 metres long used for small-scale coastal fishing. As around 40% of these vessels are over 25 years old, the overwhelming majority of our fishermen will be unable to modernise and make their activity viable unless they receive support from the Community. My second major criticism is about a fundamental issue that affects all these proposals, and which relates to the way in which the various countries have complied with the objectives laid down in the multiannual guidance programmes, the MAGPs. There are some countries that have complied with these objectives, and there are others, as with Portugal, which have even exceeded those objectives by 30%, whilst there are others still that have not only failed to comply with their objectives but have even increased the capacity of their fleet. Furthermore, I would like to remind you that since Portugal joined the European Union in 1986, the Portuguese fleet has been reduced by 45% and total catches cut by 50%. Given these figures, I do not think it is fair to ask us to make further sacrifices when there are countries that have increased their fleets. So because the Commission's proposals do not take account of this recent history, they not only involve robbing Peter to pay Paul, but worse still they reward those who have flouted the rules in the past. To conclude, Commissioner, I would like to say that it is a mistake to try to rush a reform, because that is always a recipe for disaster. The issue of the sustainability of resources is very serious, but it should not be used as an excuse for doing things hastily and giving insufficient weight to human and social aspects, and above all imposing an unfair balance. Nothing has been said about fishmeal, the ultra-peripheral regions or illegal fishing. And I hope that the reactions to the Commission's proposals will mean that aspects that have not been examined will now be reconsidered, leading to a more balanced reform covering all aspects of the problem. That is why we need to wait a little longer."@en1

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