The European Parliament has achieved a historic vote in favour of several crucial reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy. Now the challenge will be getting EU ministers onboard to ensure these encouraging decisions are written into European law.

The European Parliament has achieved a historic vote in favour of several crucial reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy. Now the challenge will be getting EU ministers onboard to ensure these encouraging decisions are written into European law.

The plenary vote considered the main part of the reform package and, amongst several encouraging decisions: Rejected last ditch efforts to dilute the planned ban on discarding (throwing unwanted catches overboard dead or dying); supported measures to make financial aid conditional on complying with the rules; endorsed rewarding fishermen who fish in environmentally and socially sustainable ways with priority access to the resource; and supported the decision taken at the December Fisheries Committee to reduce fishing pressure by 2015, allowing fish stocks to recover to sustainable levels by 2020 at the latest.

With a huge majority support of 502:137, the Parliament’s rapporteur on the CFP reform MEP Ulrike Rodust will now go into negotiations with the Council with a strong mandate, representing the wishes and interests of a sizeable number of European citizens. The negotiations will be intense, since the Council has thus far clearly been less ambitious.

Seas At Risk’ Executive Director Monica Verbeek said: “Members of the European Parliament should take a bow for acting in the interest of fish stocks, our future generations and for the sake of fishermen’s livelihoods. Today was a great day for European democracy and for the protection of European fish stocks but it is not over yet. The Council must now step up to the plate and support the European Parliament in their measures for sustainably managed fish stocks which is the basis for a prospering fisheries sector.”

Today’s vote in the plenary of the European Parliament was the follow up to an agreement made by the Parliament’s Fisheries Committee in December 2012.

Now that the European Parliament has adopted its final position on the reform of the CFP, negotiations with the Council will start and should lead to a new CFP by the end of 2013.

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