CFP proposals announced

13 Jul 2011
Maria Damanaki. © European Union, 2010

Maria Damanaki. © European Union, 2010

The European Commission has announced its long-awaited proposals for the reformed Common Fisheries Policy.

The Commission says that these proposals will “secure both fish stocks and fishermen’s livelihoods for the future while putting an end to overfishing and depletion of fish stocks.”

One of the proposals is that all fish stocks will have to be brought to sustainable levels by 2015, and an ecosystem approach, based on scientific advice, will be adopted for all fisheries.

Probably the most talked about aspect of the reform is the issue of discards, after celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight campaign. The proposals state that discards will be phased out and that fishermen will have to land all of the fish they catch, which will be counted against quotas.

The proposals include clear targets and time frames to stop overfishing, and strategies to promote sustainable aquaculture.

Consumers will also be able to get better information on the products they buy.

Member States will be given the responsibility of deciding how to apply the best conservation measures, after being given the goals from Brussels.

Regarding overcapacity of the fleet, the proposals state that “operators throughout the fishing sector will have to make their own economic decisions to adapt fleet size and fishing possibilities”.

Also, only initiatives contributing to smart and sustainable growth will be eligible for financial support, ruling out any perverse funding of illicit activities or overcapacity.

When presenting the proposals, Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "Action is needed now to get all our fish stocks back into a healthy state to preserve them for present and future generations. Only under this precondition can fishermen continue to fish and earn a decent living out of their activities.

"This means that we have to manage each stock wisely, harvesting what we can but keeping the stock healthy and productive for the future. This will bring us higher catches, a sound environment and a secure seafood supply. If we get this reform right, fishermen and coastal communities will be better off in the long run. And all Europeans will have a wider choice of fresh fish, both wild and farm produced."

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