Fisheries Committee of European Parliament votes to reform Common Fisheries Policy

December 24th, 2012 by Seas at Risk

The Cap Nord stern trawler in Boulogne harbour, France on 26 May 2003 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament voted on 18 December 2012 to reform the Common Fisheries Policy.

MEPs expressed their desire for a more sustainable European fisheries by voting to restore fish stocks to healthy levels, set fishing limits according to scientific advice, and end discards.

Dr Monica Verbeek, Seas At Risk Executive Director, said “this vote shows recognition of the fact that a prospering fisheries sector can only be based on sustainably managed fish stocks.”

“Where the Council opted for status quo, the EU parliament presses ahead with a more sustainable reform, raising hopes that 2013 will see the adoption of a new regulatory framework that will provide for healthy fish stocks and thriving coastal communities,” she said.

MEPs voted to ensure fishing limits will be set according to scientific advice, rather than through political deals.

The Wiron 2 in Scheveningen harbour, the Netherlands on 14 August 2003. The Wiron trawlers have fished to the west of Guernsey (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

They agreed to set sustainable fishing limits by 2015 at levels that should allow fish stocks to recover by 2020 to healthy levels above Maximum Sustainable Yield.

And they made access to funding conditional upon compliance with the rules set under the CFP to ensure fewer infringements.

While the gradual introduction of a discard ban was agreed, provision for potential exemptions from the obligation to land all catches is a reason for concern.

The fisheries committee wants to see a more regional approach to fisheries managemen. The committee paved the way for additional Advisory Councils to the ones already existing such as for aquaculture, the Black Sea, and markets.

It remains to be seen how inclusion of inland fisheries in the remit of the proposed aquaculture Advisory Council, and separation of markets from regional issues will pan out for the effectiveness of the relevant Advisory Councils.

Once the plenary session of the European Parliament has adopted its final position early in 2013, based on the vote on 18 December 2012 of the fisheries committee, negotiations with the Council will start and ultimately lead to a new Common Fisheries Policy by 2013 or 2014.


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