Socialist leaders promise fish reformBrussels, Belgium Prime Ministers and party leaders from the Party of European Socialists � including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres � last night agreed at the Socialist Summit in Barcelona to reduce the size of the European fishing fleet, to reduce fishing subsidies in order to phase out over-capapcity, and to reduce bycatch.
These commitments are contained in a report on sustainable development drawn up by a Party of European Socialists working group chaired by Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson and including Dutch Environment Minister Jan Pronk, British Environment Minister Michael Meacher, former Spanish Environment Minister Christina Narbona, and European Commissioners Margot Wallstrom and Poul Nielson.
The paper agreed by the Socialist, Social Democratic and Labour Prime Ministers and party leaders says : "The European fishing fleet must be reduced and new fishing equipment must be developed in order to reduce resource consumption. Measures need to be implement when the fisheries policy is overhauled in 2002. Subsidies should be substantially reduced in a socially acceptable manner in order to phase out over-capacity."
"The PES believes that: Economic subsidies within the fisheries sector must be gradually phased out in a socially acceptable manner. The overhaul of the Community's fisheries policy should aim to adjust the size of the fishing fleet to match the sea's biological production capacity. The fisheries policy must actively support the use of fishing equipment that reduces undesirable by-catches."
PES President Robin Cook has already announced that the final document will form the basis of �a distinctive PES contribution� to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later this year. According to a PES press release Socialist International President Antonio Guterres said he would circulate the proposals to SI members in advance of the Johannesburg talks, at a major SI meeting in Morocco in June.
Tony Long, Director of WWF�s European Policy Office, said �This commits Blair, Jospin, Schröder and other European leaders to radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. By taking this to the World Summit on Sustainable Development they are making reform of Europe�s failed fisheries policy into an international commitment.�
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