Wednesday, February 6, 2013

EU Common Fisheries Reform gathers pace...

Today (6.2.13) marks a significant step for sustainable fisheries in the EU. At lunch time, MEPs in the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to progress a reformed CFP with 502 votes in favour of the motion. Parliament also rejected amendments intended to weaken the discard ban.

So where does this leave the CFP process. Unfortunately this is not the 'end of the line' with still significant negotiations to come. We are now heading towards a three-way negotiation involving MEPs, EU fisheries ministers and the European commission. The next key step is for the European Council represented by he EU Fisheries Ministers, to respond to the European parliament motion. The new 'co-decision' powers for European decision making means that the package approved by the European Parliament has more clout. Is is now down to how the Council will respond to the approved measure. If the council agrees as it stands. then the new CFP is in place and the hard work begins on implementation within member states. If the council amends or disagrees with the motion, it is sent back to the parliament for a second reading. Ultimately this heads for a negotiation and compromise if there is a deadlock - something that will definitely not be in the interests of sustainable fisheries or communities.

Under the current package, the key areas for reform include:
  • Restoring EU fisheries to levels of MSY by 2015 and multi-annual ecosystem based fisheries plans
  • Phasing out discards over 3 years in three steps: pelagic species in 2014
    (including in the Mediterranean), most valuable demersal species (cod, hake and sole) in
    2015, and other species in 2016.
  • More control over managing the CFP to regional fishing organisations
  • Investment and diversification of coastal communities - potentially steering away from fisheries into other maritime employment.
Check out this great site for tracking the debate.

Exciting times. 

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