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CFP compromise offered to European Parliament

15 May 2013
The Irish EU presidency has said it would aim secure a final agreement on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy by June this year. Credit: Calcineur/ CC BY-SA 3.0

The Irish EU presidency has said it would aim secure a final agreement on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy by June this year. Credit: Calcineur/ CC BY-SA 3.0

Fisheries ministers have agreed on a new mandate for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, following 36 hours of negotiations.

Although details are still coming in, WWF, Greenpeace and Oceana have all said that the final outcome falls short of what is needed to reverse the concerning state of European fisheries.

Roberto Ferrigno, WWF’s Common Fisheries Policy reform coordinator said that fisheries ministers “decided on a legally neutral text with few binding timelines and concrete measures. If implemented it would enable them to continue badly managing our oceans and ruining our fish stocks for yet another decade. On the opposite side of the coin, the European Parliament demands an ambitious reform that would deliver new fishing laws aimed at restoring fish stocks, through transparency, fixed timelines, accountability and enforceability”.

Oceana said it is pleased that the Council finally agreed that rebuilding fish stocks should be ultimate objective of that policy, but remains concerned that ministers are not yet willing to commit to a timeline. While they decreased the percentage of exemptions to the discard ban from 7% to 5%, the organisation says it still means that substantial amounts of fish will be thrown back at sea and that the wasteful practice of discarding will continue.

Greenpeace said that unless ministers are willing to compromise, negotiations will be thrown off course and threaten the chances of achieving a reform of fisheries rules before European Parliament elections in mid-2014. The organisation reports that t main opposition to reform came from Spain, France, Portugal, Greece and Belgium. These countries in particular objected to a target date for the recovery of Europe’s overfished stocks and insisted for loopholes to be worked into a partial ban on discards. The German minister repeatedly pushed for a better deal, while Sweden was the only country to refuse to sign up to the Council position because of a lack of ambition.

It is now up to the European Parliament to decide whether they accept the compromise that the Council is offering - or whether they reject it and stand their ground by sticking to their ambitious position for reform.

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The Irish EU presidency has said it would aim secure a final agreement on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy by June this year. Credit: Calcineur/ CC BY-SA 3.0

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