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Calls for Radical Changes to CFP at Council Meeting

27 April 2012, at 1:00am

UK - Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon will call for countries in Europe to be given more say in the way their fisheries are managed, when he attends the EU Fisheries Council in Luxembourg later today.

This new regionalised decision making process would give member states more freedom to cooperate on the detail of fisheries management in a way that suits their own circumstances. For example, agreeing rules on fishing gear, and measures to prevent discarding of dead fish. Many believe that the current system is over centralised, bureaucratic and that fishermen are micro-managed.

Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon said: It is crucial that we move away from the centralised micro-management that has served European fisheries so badly under the current Common Fisheries Policy.

In addressing some of the damaging failures of the CFP, we cannot simply revert to a one-size-fits-all approach yet again. This is why I am advocating a regionalised approach, working with the fishing industry and other Member States to agree measures that are effective.

The Agriculture & Fisheries Council will be discussing the socio-economic dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Commissioners Maria Damanaki, Dacian Ciolo?, and John Dalli will represent the Commission at the meeting.

The Council will debate the Commission's proposals for a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and hold orientation debates on the following aspects of the proposed CFP reform.
  • Regionalised policy-making: the aim is to involve stakeholders more in decision-making and to shift the decision-making process closer to the fishing communities. The Commission proposal aims to end micro-management from Brussels so that EU legislators will only define the general framework, the basic principles, the overall targets, the performance indicators and the timeframes. Member States will then decide the actual implementing measures, and will cooperate at regional level. In addition to simplifying the process, this will favour solutions tailored to regional and local needs.

  • Introduction of transferable fishing concessions: the Commission proposes that fishing rights are tradable within a Member State, to have in place a market-oriented instrument to reduce overfishing. This new system would give the fishing industry a long-term perspective, more flexibility and greater accountability, while at the same time reducing overcapacity.

  • The objective of the reform is to end overfishing and make fishing sustainable - environmentally, economically and socially. The reform aims to:

  • bring fish stocks back to sustainable levels by setting fishing opportunities based on scientific advice,
  • provide EU citizens with a stable, secure and healthy food supply for the long term,
  • bring new prosperity to the fishing sector, end dependence on subsidies and create new opportunities for jobs and growth in coastal areas.
  • During the informal Ministerial lunch Ministers and Commission will exchange views on the social dimension of the CFP reform.

The reform package consists of a) a legislative proposal for a new Regulation setting out the main rules of the CFP, b) a legislative proposal for a new Market Policy, c) a Communication on the external dimension of the CFP and d) an overarching communication explaining the links between the above.

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