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WFC - Transparency Key to External Dimension of CFP

EU - Speaking at a debate on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform at the World Fisheries Congress, Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Fisheries in the UK government said that transparency is key to moving the reforms forward and mutually benefitting the EU and third party countries.

Discussing the external dimension of the reforms, which covers fishing agreements with countries outside the EU, Mr Benyon said it is imperative that we know who is fishing where and what stock.

"We must invest in these coastal communities or scientific research to benefit these communities."

Scottish Government, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs said that developing countries must not be exploited, we must help them develop and ensure the benefits are mutual.

However, Lowri Evans, Director General of Fisheries said that where the EU has fishing agreements, the EU will only fish any surplus that is left, however knowing what those countries are fishing in the first place is difficult.

Tony Long, Director of European Policy Office for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said that as well as the EU being able to aid these countries through funding and community schemes, we should be looking around and learning from them.

"It is not just a one way street," he said. "We should be bringing in information from these countries and look at how the management arrangements that they have in place, may be implemented or adapted to the EU."

He said it would be foolish to not learn from what is going on elsewhere.

One question from the floor raised the concern of corruption, and whether the EU can be sure that money given to these countries is used to benefit local communities.

Ms Evans answered this saying that there were two ways in which the EU paid for fishing rights.

"The first is a commercial transaction - we pay them to fish those waters. Therefore we have no control over what happens to this money, nor should it be any of our concern.

"However the second part is development money. This is where money is given to develop coastal communities."

However, she said, in practice it is very difficult to ensure that this money goes to where it was intended.

Charlotte Johnson

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