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Alistair McConnachie published Sovereignty from July 1999 to its 120th consecutive monthly issue in June 2009, and he continues to maintain this website.
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The following was compiled by Alistair McConnachie. Part of it is summarised from the Memorandum to the House of Commons Agriculture Committee, submitted by The Fishermen's Association Ltd. in December 1998. The Fishermen's Association advocates that Britain leave the Common Fisheries Policy and they can be contacted at 11 Burns Road, Aberdeen AB15 4NT    Telephone: 01224 313473   

The EEC Common Fisheries Policy was introduced in 1970. This allowed the EU states whose own fish stocks had been depleted to exploit the well-conserved waters of the applicant countries of Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom.

The result has been an environmental and political disaster.

Left: Alistair McConnachie at the Fishermen's Memorial in Ayr High Street.

Competence for the living marine resources within the 200-mile exclusive fishing zone has been handed to the Community, based on the principle of equal access to a common resource without discrimination.


The Common Fisheries Policy causes the depletion of fish stocks by measures that were ostensibly intended to conserve them.

Single-species quotas result in massive dumping at sea of fish caught in excess of the quota for that particular species.

Dumping takes two forms :

Prime fish of breeding size : When a mixed species catch is hauled on board, all the fish of a particular species must be dumped overboard if the vessel has an insufficient quota for that species. These are called "black fish." It is possible that 30 million prime cod along with unknown quantities of other fish will now be dumped dead at sea each year.

Juveniles : The Council of Fisheries Ministers voted on 30 October 1997 to reduce the minimum landing size of three species -- hake, plaice and megrim -- to below breeding size. This endangers the future of the industry.

During the 1980s the fleets of the nine member states plus Greece reasonably matched the Community's marine resources. When Spain joined on 1st January 1986, its fleet amounted to three-quarters of the combined fleets of the Nine. EEC fishing capacity nearly doubled overnight. Too many vessels were chasing too few fish and every member state was required to cut its fishing fleet to make way for the newcomers.

As a result :

  • The quota system is responsible for the dumping dead of thousands of tons - and numerically billions - of fish every year.
  • This is the principal cause of the overall reduction of fish stocks and pollutes the marine environment.
  • It criminalises honest fishermen.
  • It has resulted in the reduction of the British fishing fleet to one third of its former size.
  • It destroys direct and indirect employment.
  • It is having a devastating effect on coastal communities.
  • It has resulted in the growth of a trade in quotas which ensures that ownership of the fleet is becoming concentrated in fewer hands. This will eventually destroy the industry.

(END of Memorandum summary)

We recognise the damage caused by the Common Fisheries Policy to the British fishing industry and to the environment and fish stocks. Therefore, in addition to calling for Britain to leave the EU, we also call on Britain to leave the Common Fisheries Policy immediately.

If we left the Common Fisheries Policy before we left the EU, it would lead quickly to our leaving the EU altogether. This is because such a move would call into question our allegiance to the other EU treaties and our position as a participating member of the EU would be untenable.

We must withdraw from the Common Fisheries Policy immediately, and leave the EU altogether.

We must re-establish control of Britain's 200-mile exclusive fishing zone, so that we may rebuild our fishing industry and ensure the proper environmental management of fish stocks.

We call for assistance for coastal communities to re-build their economies and protect their natural resources.

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