§ 7. Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by what percentage the British fishing fleet is over its common fisheries policy multi-annual guidance targets. 
§ Mr. Baldry
The UK's multi-annual guidance programme targets consist of separate tonnage and power figures for each of 10 fleet segments. They are due to be met by 31 December 1996. At 31 December 1994, the nephrops and distant water targets had been met. All other segments were short of target by varying degrees. Figures for the end of 1995 are not yet available.
§ Mr. Mitchell
I should have hoped—and expected—that the Minister would take the opportunity offered by the first fishing questions for ages to ask consumers who do not want to eat beef to eat fish, because it is better for them. On the substance of his answer, is it not ludicrous that the United Kingdom—which provides two thirds of the waters in this so-called common market pool and more than three quarters of stocks—is now being asked to make the biggest reductions in its fishing fleet, particularly when a fifth of that fleet is owned by Europeans? Commissioner Bonino said that she will take quota hoppers into account when deciding reductions. Why does the Minister not meet her and ask her to live up to that promise?
§ Mr. Baldry
The hon. Gentleman needs to sort out some of his points—some of them are good and some are awfully had. We are not being asked to make any greater reduction in our fishing effort than any other member state. If we fish against national quotas, of course it is crazy that members of other EU states can catch fish against our quota. For that reason, we have made it perfectly clear that, if appropriate, we will seek treaty changes at the intergovernmental conference to deal with the issue of quota hoppers. Of course I discussed that with the European Commissioner—she was in the UK the other day. I think that she fully understands our opposition, and our determination to deal with quota hoppers—which is what we are determined to do. I very much hope that, in the not too distant future, the Anglo-Dutch fleet, which is sailing around the North sea, will disappear.
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
My hon. Friend is aware that Europe is taking emergency action to keep out our beef. Why cannot we take emergency action to keep the pillaging fishermen of Spain and elsewhere out of our waters on the grounds of an emergency in employment and conserving fishing stocks'? What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.
§ Mr. Baldry
That is good, robust stuff, Madam Speaker. It is important to remember in all this that the House and the country will always comply with the rule of law. We will always base our decisions on law. We will, moreover, seek to base our decisions on best 1157 science. It is a matter of great disappointment to all hon. Members that our European colleagues have shown this week that they do not follow those policies.