The Sea Fish Industry Authority and the Fish Industry Forum have announced their support for the zonal management proposals advocated by UK fishermen's federations as a means of reforming the EU's Common Fisheries Policy.

Both organisations reviewed the joint proposal by the Scottish Fishermen's Federation and The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations - Zonal Management: A new vision for Europe's Fisheries - at recent meetings and have endorsed the principle of decentralised management and wider industry participation.

In a statement today, Eric Davey, Chairman of both the Seafish Board and the Fish Industry Forum, said:
    "The Seafish Board and the Fish Industry Forum support the broad principles of sub-dividing the common European fishing grounds into more manageable zones and obtaining direct involvement of all nations with a fishing entitlement in particular zones.

    "There appears to be a great deal of consensus in the industry that it is appropriate for decisions to be decentralised and made by those who have long term interests in the conservation of fish stocks in their own areas. This commonsense approach can only improve the operation of the CFP and secure a profitable and sustainable future for all.

    "It is frustrating to many in the industry that decisions can be influenced by member states who, for geographical factors, don't have any interest in a particular fishery. The federations are proposing a structure, within the CFP, which would capitalise on regional knowledge, with decision-making informed by the particular conditions and influences of that area.

    "The system proposed by the two fishermen's federations promotes more flexible and responsible decision making and encourages taking a more strategic medium term view of stock enhancement - these are sound principles which both bodies wholeheartedly endorse."


Notes to editors:
The Seafish Board has 12 members appointed by Fisheries Ministers. Eight members represent the industry across all sectors; four are independent.

The Fish Industry Forum consists of 15 top level representatives from all sectors of the UK fish industry. It promotes industry consensus on major issues.

More information:
Jane Ferguson, 0131 558 3331, j_ferguson@seafish.co.uk