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Fisheries Committee Calls for End to Overfishing and Discards

Sustainability Politics

EU - The fisheries committee in the European Parliament has demanded sustainable quotas by 2015 and an end to discards, as they voted on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

After a voting session which lasted more than three hours in the morning and was interrupted by a long lunch break, the fisheries committee at 15:00 adopted the so-called basic regulation with 13 votes against 10 (2 abstentions).

Some of the main points adopted by committee:

  • A legal requirement to stop overfishing. By 2015 fisheries ministers must set sustainable quotas in order to rebuild fish stocks to healthy levels (above levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield = Bmsy) by 2020.
  • Long term management plans shall be established for every fishery through co-decision.
  • A ban on discards = an obligation to land and record all catches of harvested and regulated species, introduced between 2014 and 2017.
  • EU vessels fishing outside EU waters must meet the same requirements as boats in Europe. Fisheries agreements with third countries should only cover fish stocks with a surplus of fish.
  • There will be no transferable fishing concessions the tradeable individual quotas proposed by the Commission. Each member state shall decide how to allocate fishing rights.
  • Member states shall introduce a network of marine protected areas where no fishing can take place (without any details on how large these areas should be).
  • The management regime that Ulrike Rodust had proposed for the Mediterranean Sea a system of territorially based user rights for fishing (TURFs) was rejected.
  • Member states have to assess and report on their fleet capacity. A member state which does not reduce overcapacity will not get any money from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

It may take some time before the consolidated version of the report is ready. The official parliamentary webpage with all documents is available here.

Ulrike Rodust said: We have overcome a major hurdle and I expect that in February the plenary of the European Parliament will confirm our decision: this will give us a strong hand to negotiate with the Council and get the reforms passed.

The plenary vote is expected to take place in February or March.