The Spanish Minister for the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, Elena Espinosa, stated at the end of the meeting, Wednesday 5 May, that the ministers, along with European Parliament and Commission representatives who also participated in the debate, have 'reached unanimous agreement with regard to establishing a set of priorities' for purposes of reforming the present CFP, which has been in force since 2003.
The minister specifically referred to the need to:
- Distinguish between small-scale and industrial fishing.
- Create a specific fund for small-scale fishing, which includes environmental, technological and trade measures, without leaving out the social dimension.
- Seek other options for fisheries of a mixed nature, taking into account that current policy with regard to TACs and quotas does not constitute the only viable management model.
- Avoid discards and look for formulas which minimise their impact.
- Take a bottom-up approach to decision making and greatly simplify common fisheries policy governance.
- Continue to improve the supply to the Common Market Organisation (CMO) in the fisheries product sector so that it also becomes a tool for aiding third countries.
- Provide a much more active role to regional fishing organisations, particularly in those fishing areas where there is less monitoring.
The Spanish minister underscored the importance of receiving input in the form of ideas, so that the European Commission can draw up a policy document which will permit the initiation of formal debate at the meeting of the Council of Fisheries Ministers to be held in Luxembourg on 29 June.
The European Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, said that the revision of the CFP has entered a key phase and that Brussels hopes to have its legislative reform proposal ready by next year, so that the new policy can take effect in 2013.
'We have completed the consultation process and must now begin to make decisions,' she said.