Following the European Commission proposal for new rules on technical conservation measures for fisheries, Seas At Risk together with other environmental NGOs urge the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to agree on ambitious measures which should contribute to maintaining an adequate level of ecosystem protection across EU waters as well as managing fish stocks sustainably.

The European Commissions’ proposal which has been presented earlier this year, intends to simplify the existing rules and it establishes where, when and how fishing may take place. Seas At Risk together with other environmental NGOs (BirdLife, Oceana, WWF, ClientEarth, Coalition Clean Baltic, and the Fisheries Secretariat) stress that new rules should be also coherent with the objectives set in the Common Fisheries Policy and with the existing EU environmental legislation such as the Marine Directive, which aims to achieve healthy EU marine waters by 2020, as well as existing rules protecting birds and habitats.

Key recommendations are related to different aspects of fisheries management. Among others: 1) Better protection for sensitive species, sensitive habitats and juvenile fish. This should be reached by reducing bycatch, catch of undersized fish and impacts on habitats, as well as by establishing clearer targets for these reductions. 2) Stronger control on the use of innovative fishing gears, which should be used only if independent scientific assessments demonstrate that they do not cause more harm to the marine environment than conventional methods. 3) Better monitoring, controlling and enforcing systems related to the legislation of marine protected areas. Activities should only be allowed once appropriate tests according to the Common Fisheries Policy and the Habitats Directive have been met. For further information on the specific NGOs recommendations please see the position paper.

Seas At Risk closely follows the current debate at the Council (next steps expected this November) and at the European Parliament (the vote in the Fisheries Committee is planned for spring 2017). 

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