Speaking from Brussels the Democratic Unionist Party’s member of the European Parliament said: “Following the result of the 23rd June Brexit Referendum I stated my intention to continue my work within the European Parliament to deliver for Northern Ireland.
“Today’s vote represents the latest tangible evidence of my commitment and goes a long way towards helping the fishing industry at home, which to a large extent has been beleaguered because of unnecessary EU regulation. At the same time the revised plan will continue to afford protection for cod stocks around the British Isles.”
Mrs Dodds went on: “Cod is an iconic species and the EU’s Long Term Cod Management Plan dates back to 2008. Within four years it was recognised that the plan was not fit for purpose, yet because of inter-EU institutional rivalry it has taken another four years and a court judgement to deliver these amendments, which once again emphasises the sheer difficulty with Brussels based, top down interference in our industries.
“Nevertheless, I will acknowledge the assistance provided by individual members of the European Parliament and Commission in helping me deliver this important report that allows vital technical conservation measures for cod to be maintained, while at the same time removing those parts of the plan that not only contradicted other regulations, but defied the reality of cod abundance. Difficulties remain and we will still have to grapple with EU management of our fisheries for another two years until Brexit is secured. This is why it is important that we continue to play a full role in EU policy making until then.
“It is now over to the EU’s Fisheries Council to make decisions based on my amendments to the Cod Plan at their meeting in mid-December. This year with my colleague Michelle McIlveen MLA playing a full role in the United Kingdom’s Ministerial team at that meeting and representing Northern Ireland’s fishermen, I am confident that on cod we can at least stop the decline in this important fishery in the Irish Sea and begin the process of rebuilding the whitefish element of Northern Ireland’s fishing industry.”