LETTER : Europe must pull together against the Pacific Tigers

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Sir: Robin Teverson MEP (Letters, 8 March) suggests that there is an easy way to deal with quota-hoppers now, simply by requiring them to land 50 per cent of their catch in the UK in addition to requiring them to comply with the visiting condition of their fishing licences. Would that it were that simple.

A requirement of this kind aimed specifically at quota-hoppers would be discriminatory and, I am advised, would run counter to previous rulings of the European Court of Justice. However, the current situation in which foreign-owned, foreign-skippered vessels land fish covered by UK quota abroad cannot be allowed to continue. That is why I am determined that in the Inter-Governmental Conference the UK will seek changes to help to ensure that economic benefits from each member state's allocated fish quota share accrue to their own fishing communities, not those of other member states.

Tony Baldry, MP

Minister of State

Ministry of Agriculture

Fisheries and Food

London SW1

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