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MEPs demand end to fish discards

By Dave Keating  -  18.12.2012 / 19:31 CET
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.  
© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.
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