No-take zones fundamental to fisheries’ health

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From: Linda McAvan, Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber and Labour and Socialist group spokesperson on the Environment, Public Health and Food.

I WAS pleased to see you (Yorkshire Post, April 16) highlighting the importance of no-take zones in the waters off the Yorkshire coast.

If we are to successfully preserve and re-invigorate the fish and marine life in our seas, then no-take zones will have to play a fundamental part in our fishing policy.

As I write, Members of the European Parliament and government ministers from member countries of the European Union are currently in discussions about the new Commons Fisheries Policy (CFP), which I hope will place far more emphasis on sustainability.

To this end Labour MEPs have put forward and will support amendments to the new CFP that will make it easier to introduce no-catch zones.

The European Commission estimates that 72 per cent of assessed fish stocks are believed to be over-exploited while 20 per cent have been fished to levels that threaten their very existence.

This is why the need for change is so pressing.

The enthusiasm and respect fishermen and local people have shown for the no-catch zone are just as encouraging as the positive results being discovered at Flamborough Head and suggests these no-catch zones offer a genuine chance of marine life recovering to healthy levels.

As your article made clear, plentiful amounts of fish are not just in the interests of the environment but also in the best interests of the fishing industry.