Fishing limits to be set according to scientific advice, rather than through political deals.
MEPs on the European Parliament's fisheries committee today
(18 December) voted on the most important file of the Commission's proposal to
reform the Common Fisheries Policy. The mammoth vote lasted four hours and
considered 3,000 amendments.
MEPs voted to amend the CFP legislation to ensure fishing
limits will be set according to scientific advice, rather than through
political deals. They agreed to set sustainable fishing limits by 2015 at
levels that should allow fish stocks to recover by 2020 to healthy levels above
Maximum Sustainable Yield. And they made access to funding conditional upon
compliance with the rules set under the CFP to ensure fewer infringements.
They also voted for a gradual introduction of a discard ban,
though with some provisions for potential exemptions. The fisheries committee
also wants to see a more regional approach to fisheries management.
NGOs cheered the vote result. “In the face of massive lobby
from destructive fishing interests, MEPs have found the courage to stand up for
our marine environment and give a future to both fish and fishermen” said Ariel
Brunner, head of EU policy at Birdlife Europe.
Simon Coveney, Ireland's minister for agriculture and
fisheries, said at the sidelines of today's agrifish council that, though he
would not necessarily support all of the Parliament's proposed amendments, the
fact that a vote took place before Christmas “allows us to engage with the
Parliament now at a very early stage of our presidency”.
“But we have some real issues to overcome here,” between the
Parliament and member states, he added. A vote is expected by the full
Parliament in early 2013.
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