Aquaculture for all

Agreement on Principles for New EU Fisheries Policy

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EU - A strong alliance between Denmark, the UK and Germany agreed on new principles for the new EU Common Fisheries Policy in Aalborg, Denmark, yesterday.

Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Eva Kjer Hansen, and her British, Scottish and German colleagues agreed on 8 October new principles that they believe should form the foundation for Europe's Common Fisheries Policy when it is revised in 2012.

"We four ministers have now agreed to ask the European Commission and the Council of Ministers to develop the fisheries policy on the basis of the new principles that I proposed to the Council of Ministers last autumn," said Ms Hansen.

"The proposal would simply give fishermen who want to document all of their catches a larger catch quota. This will take into account the fact that all caught fish will be counted and registered, and that fish that can be used for consumption are not discarded. We have formed a strong alliance with the other countries in the agreement, and I expect that the EU Commission will take our proposal seriously in the continuing work with the fisheries policy," said Ms Hansen.

WWF, biologists and fishermen back the proposal

In its government agreement from November 2007, the Danish coalition government noted that the Common Fisheries Policy was developing in an inappropriate direction, with many complicated rules and great public expenditure in managing fisheries, while fish stocks remain low and small edible fish are discarded into the sea.

Ms Hansen said: "The EU has used regulations and control to manage fisheries, and every time the regulations have not worked it has introduced new regulations and control initiatives."

World Wildlife Fund (WWF International) has given its backing to the Danish proposal, and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea has said that catch quotas are a considerable advance compared with the present management methods. Many fishermen have expressed positive interest in the possibilities offered by the proposal – not least those fishermen who, with six fishing boats, took part in the year-long trial with catch quotas and camera documentation of their catches. However, the Danish Fishermen's Association has not taken a stand on the proposal.

The agreement was signed by the four ministers at the Danish Food Minister’s conference on the Common Fisheries Policy held in Aalborg, Jutland, on 8 October 2009.