After two years of negotiation, the European Parliament and Fisheries Council finally reached an agreement on the framework of a reformed Common Fisheries Policy. It includes a deal on rebuilding fish stocks, ending overfishing by 2015, and reducing by-catch and discarding.

After two years of negotiation, the European Parliament and Fisheries Council finally reached an agreement on the framework of a reformed Common Fisheries Policy. It includes a deal on rebuilding fish stocks, ending overfishing by 2015, and reducing by-catch and discarding.

The negotiation outcome gives cautious hope for a sustainable future of European fish stocks and fisheries. The agreement however fails to set a final date by which European fish stocks should have recovered and allows a five year delay for ending overfishing in exceptional cases where reductions in fishing pressure may ‘seriously jeopardise the social and economic sustainability of the fishing fleets’.

While detailed information on the agreement is still coming in, it seems that Member States will be required to use environmental and social criteria when they distribute fishing opportunities to operators.

Monica Verbeek, Executive Director of Seas At Risk, said: “The criteria for the allocation of fishing quota will allow the Member States to give incentives to operators that abide by the rules and have the least environmental impact, and will thus boost best practice. This was one of the key-demands of OCEAN2012 and Seas At Risk.”

It was also agreed to adjust the respective fishing capacity of the fleets to the available fishing opportunities. With the agreed obligation to land all catches, discarding of fish at sea will be greatly reduced even though some exemptions are allowed.

Monica Verbeek said: “For the first time Parliament was a full partner in shaping the Common Fisheries Policy, and I am pleased to see that it has succeeded in safeguarding some of the key elements of its ambitious proposal, withstanding the push of a majority of the Council to continue business as usual.”

As a last step, the agreement has to be approved by the Committee of Permanent Representatives.

Share This

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required