Parliament Employs Ecosystem Approach to Fish

EU - Parliament adopted a report on the Commission communication "The role of the Common Fisheries Policy in implementing an ecosystem approach to marine management".

According to MEPs, this initiative is a "contribution" for guaranteeing exploitation of fisheries resources in a way that will create sustainable conditions from the social, environmental and economic points of views, urging however the Commission to reconsider the present system of TACs and quotas.

The EP urges the Commission to reconsider the present system of total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas as the principal instrument for managing marine resources and its "usefulness" given the present fishing restrictions.

In a report drawn up by Pedro GUERREIRO (GUE/NGL, PT) and adopted with 557 votes in favour, 48 against and 12 abstentions, MEPs recognise that the existing fisheries management instruments, based on TACs, have a direct impact on catches and an indirect impact on fishing effort, adding, however, that "management of fishing effort is needed". They urge the Commission to study the different instruments for managing marine resources, "ensuring that the existing instruments will not be changed until an alternative that ensures a more adequate exploitation of fisheries resources has come up".

The House considers it "insufficient to measure fishing effort in a uniform way", without taking account of the diversity of fleets and gear. "Controlling fishing effort should take account of the various species, the various fishing gear and the assessed impact of catches on stocks of each species", states the report.

According to MEPs, one of the first tasks to be carried out in the area of fisheries management is to assess scientifically whether there are any over-large fleets and over-exploited resources, and which they are, so that suitable specific measures can be adopted.

Fisheries management measures - such as technical modifications to nets, the closure of certain areas and the reduction of fishing effort - should be "diversified, specific and adapted to each case".

Southern Hake and Norway Lobster off the Iberian Peninsula

The European Parliament says proposes that scientific studies be carried out capable of identifying the redistribution of marine species exploited by fisheries because of the impact of the recent change in the physical and chemical parameters of waters due to climatic change. According to MEPs, these studies should serve as a basis for reformulating a number of existing stock recovery plans, for example the recovery plan for Southern Hake and Norway Lobster off the Iberian Peninsula.

Parliament also stresses the need to apply mechanisms to subsidise or compensate fishermen affected by the economic and social repercussions of multiannual recovery and management plans and measures to protect ecosystems.

12 miles: derogation should be "permanent"

The House expresses its deep concern at the possibility of any change being made to the common fisheries policy (CFP) that promotes the concentration of fishing activity, in particular as regards the right of access to resources, and considers it vital to maintain the access derogation to the zone falling within territorial waters at least 12 miles, calling for this derogation to be "permanent in nature".

MEPs urge the Commission to study and propose more open control and supervision systems in respect of fisheries landings, illegal catches and the discarding at sea of by-catches. In order to maintain fish stocks worldwide, "upper limits must also be set on the number of days fishermen may remain at sea", they add.

The report urges greater decentralisation of the CFP, which will guarantee the involvement of fishermen, their representative organisations and fishing communities in the CFP and fisheries management.

the Fish Site Editor

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