Ahead of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on June 28, Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat have submitted environmental guidance to ministers on issues relating to access, overcapacity and the use of subsidies.

Ahead of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on June 28, Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat have submitted environmental guidance to ministers on issues relating to access, overcapacity and the use of subsidies.

In relation to the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat have submitted the following proposals on each item:

• On Access: Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat proposed abandoning the concept of relative stability and rejected the Green Paper suggestion to introduce individual transferable rights on a compulsory basis. Instead, Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat suggested to (gradually) phase out the current quota allocation system and that future access should be based on a set of transparent criteria for environmentally and socially sustainable practices, providing priority access for fishing operators who most contribute to achieving the overarching objectives of the CFP.

• On Overcapacity: Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat insisted that fishing capacity under the reformed CFP must be reduced to match available resources. Measures aimed at capacity reduction must ensure that the remaining fleet is sustainable, not only in terms of size but also in terms of characteristics and consequently lead to the removal of (the most) destructive and unsustainable practices whilst promoting low impact fishing methods, gears and practices.

• On Subsidies: Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat urged the EU to end all subsides that contribute to maintaining and increasing overcapacity and overfishing. In the future, subsidies should instead contribute to a better management system, including funding of, for example, control and enforcement and stock assessments. Community financial assistance should be conditional upon Member States’ adequate implementation of the CFP.

Both NGOs generally welcomed the Commission Communication for Fishing Opportunities for 2011 but expressed their concern regarding the increase of data deficiency in 2010 and insisted that TACs should not be set in excess of scientific advice. Moreover, they did not consider the Commission Communication to appropriately ensure the sustainable management of deep-sea fisheries as required under the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 64/72. Whilst welcoming the commitment that all stocks are to be exploited at Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) by 2015, Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat insisted that MSY should not be considered the ultimate target, but only constitute an intermediate target for stocks that are overfished. More precautionary targets, such as Maximum Economic Yield (MEY) should already be considered for stocks that are close to or at MSY today.

 

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