Strasbourg, 25 October 2018 - The European Parliament today approved the multiannual plan for fish stocks in the Western Waters (north-east Atlantic), despite the plan facilitating overfishing. In failing to ensure the long-term environmental sustainability of fish stocks, the plan goes against the fundamental objective of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to end overfishing.

Multiannual management plans are intended to be the legal means by which the objectives of the CFP are implemented. Despite this, the European Commission’s proposal for the Western Waters multiannual plan allowed fishing limits to be set above Maximum Sustainable Yield thus permitting overfishing. Now, MEPs have fallen similarly short of delivering on their commitments and strengthening and aligning this proposal with the CFP.

 “The Parliament has agreed fishing mortality ranges that, at their upper limit, can exceed the fishing rates above scientifically advised sustainable levels. Compared to other multiannual plans, Fisheries Ministers can more easily set fishing limits that result in overfishing. This means that stocks will not be restored to healthy levels, bringing negative socioeconomic impacts in the longer term.", says Andrea Ripol, Fisheries Policy Officer at Seas At Risk.

Perhaps the best that can be said of today's plenary vote is that it goes against the Fisheries Committee proposal to allow a three-year delay to the 2020 legal deadline to end overfishing.

The next step towards adopting this legislation is the trilogue negotiations between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council. Seas At Risk calls on all three institutions to agree a plan to ensure that fishing is carried out in a sustainable way, providing long-term benefits for both the environment and the fishing industry.

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