The Council is expected to reach a political agreement on the reform of the basic provisions of the Common Fisheries Policy and of the rules regarding the organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products.
The proposal for reforming the basic provisions of the Common Fisheries Policy focuses on fishing sustainably. To this end, all stocks should be rebuilt to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels through conservation and better management through multi-annual plans, and by ending the practice of discards.
Transferable fishing concessions are proposed, to help adjust the fleet capacity. The proposal stresses the importance of reliable and complete data for decision-making. The decision-making process should be more decentralised and take account of the regional specifics, to avoid micro-management at the EU level. Measures to support the aquaculture industry are also proposed.
The proposal on the Common Organisation of the Markets in fishery and aquaculture products aims to help achieve the goals of the Common Fisheries Policy, to make the industry more competitive and the markets more transparent, and to ensure a level playing field for all products marketed in the EU. It also aims to better inform the consumers through improved labelling of fishery and aquaculture products.
The objective of the new, reformed fisheries policy is to end overfishing and make fishing sustainable - environmentally, economically and socially.
The new policy 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.
The Council Presidency will also present a progress report to the Council on the discussions so far on the proposal for a new financial instrument, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The new fund will help deliver the ambitious objectives of the reform. It will assist fishermen in the transition towards sustainable fishing, as well as coastal communities in the diversification of their economies. The fund will finance projects that create new jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts.
Speaking ahead of the EU Council Scotlands Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead said: The EU Council holds the future of Scotlands fishing industry in its hands. Decisions will be taken that will change the shape of our fishing industry and our fishing communities both now and for years to come. It is imperative the opportunity is seized to make sure those changes are changes for the better.
"We must see a move to return decision making to regional and member state level. We must see changes that will deliver successful conservation of fish stocks and the elimination of discards. And we must not see the imposition of Transferable Fishing Concessions (TFCs) which would put Scotlands historic fishing rights in jeopardy.
Our fishermen and our fishing communities are counting on the next CFP to show common sense. They are counting on the Council to acknowledge the great work that is taking place to conserve fish stocks and increase sustainability. And they are counting on the support of the whole of Scotland as we continue to fight to protect their livelihoods and their communities.