Seas At Risk welcomes the decision of the European Parliament for a robust North Sea multiannual management plan that will effectively see an end to overfishing of species living near the sea bottom in that region. The plan covers fish stocks that represent almost 70% of the North Sea catch.


In July the fisheries committee of the European Parliament had voted for a North Sea multiannual plan that would have allowed overfishing, with fish catches above scientifically advised sustainable levels, however the decision by the plenary session of the European Parliament today eliminated that possibility.

With this vote, the European Parliament demonstrated once again its real commitment to achieving sustainable fisheries, in line with the requirement under the Common Fisheries Policy to end overfishing by 2020 at the very latest. As such, the Parliament is becoming the guardian of EU law.

The Parliament’s position provides a strong basis for the upcoming trialogue negotiations with the Council and European Commission. These negotiations will be tough with a Council that seems set on perpetuating overfishing. Seas At Risk calls on all three institutions to agree on a plan that will contribute to achieving the legal obligation to stop overfishing and rebuild fish stocks.

Multiannual management plans are the major legal tool for implementing the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy in the different sea basins and should ensure that fishing is carried out in an environmentally sustainable way. The plans have to include objectives for sustainable fishing limits, as well as provisions related to the landing obligation to avoid and reduce as far as possible unwanted catches. A first management plan for the Baltic was adopted in 2016, and further plans for the Adriatic Sea and the Western Waters (of the North East Atlantic) are under way.

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