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CFP: Proposal Welcomed With Reservations


EU - The legislative proposal to reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is a good start, but the proposed rules on tradable fishing rights and regional decision-making need to be amended, Fisheries Committee MEPs told Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, who presented the proposals.

The Commission suggests introducing tradable fishing rights, phasing in a ban on discards, and decentralising some fisheries policy decision-making to regions.

These proposals put us "on the right path", said Antonello Antinoro (EPP, IT). He felt that decentralising some fisheries policy decision-making to regions should produce "sound results", but warned that buying up fishing rights could create monopolies.

In shaping the reforms, Parliament should "counterbalance national selfishness", said Ulrike Rodust (S&D, DE), who welcomed the proposal to tailor long-term management plans to ecological needs.

Tradable fishing rights

Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE, IE), called for "major changes" to the proposals here, warning that Irish fishermen will "vehemently oppose" any principle that would enable European companies to come and buy fishing concessions.

Joo Ferreira (GUE/NGL, PT) warned that "it will not be feasible to prevent concentration" of transferable quotas in certain Member States. "There are no safeguards here to prevent this and we will oppose it", he said.

An end to discards

"We support the discard ban", said Isabella Lvin (Greens/EFA, SE), but "unfortunately it is not a complete discard ban". "How are you going to check whether fishermen are dumping certain species and keeping other species on board?", she asked the Commissioner. "We know that this proposal will be watered down and weakened by forces in the Council," she warned.

Regional decision-making

Mr the Cope Gallagher (ALDE, IE), stressed that there is "a strong political will" to "scrap the one-size-fits-all policy" and allow regions to "resolve problems immediately".

"We were promised a whale and you delivered a sardine", said Struan Stevenson (ECR, UK). "What about the 'basket of options' that we were promised, what about dealing with TACs and quotas, days at sea, fisheries credit systems and catch quotas, all these 'baskets of options" from which Member States, working closely with stakeholders, scientists and fishermen, would be able to choose the best management options for their own fisheries?"

Next steps

The Commission proposals presented on 13 July include a communication explaining the content of the reform, a basic regulation for the CFP, a new Common Market Regulation and a communication on international aspects of the CFP.

This is the first time the European Parliament will co-decide on the shape of the CFP as an equal partner with the Council. The reformed CFP will enter into force in 2013.