CFP reform agreed
An agreement has been reached for a radical overhaul of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, following nearly two years of negotiations.
The deal includes a legally-binding target to rebuild depleted fish stocks by 2020 which, by following scientific advice more closely, could increase EU fish stocks by up to 15 million tonnes by the end of the decade. Long term management plans are to be prepared for every fishery to increase fish numbers above maximum sustainable yield.
Starting in pelagic fisheries from 2015, fishermen will by 2019 have a legal obligation to land 95% of all fish caught, massively reducing discards. In order to not to waste quota fishermen will be encouraged to make use of more selective gear.
Another key point of the agreement is that micro-management from Brussels will be reduced, which means that day to day decisions about the running of particular fisheries, and conservation measures needed, will increasingly be taken by regional advisory councils including fishermen and scientists from all the countries involved in the fishery.
The EU will also have to reduce its fishing fleet capacity in line with available fishing opportunities, or face the loss of subsidies.
Other reforms, which must yet be formally approved by ministers and MEPs, will be phased in over subsequent years.
Chris Davies, British Liberal Democrat MEP and secretary of the cross-party 'Fish for the Future' group in the European Parliament said, "Our treatment of Europe's seas has been a disgrace. But we have learnt lessons. Across Europe there is a strong desire now to listen to the scientists, rebuild fish stocks, cut discards, and give our fishing industry a better future. This is not a perfect deal but it's a huge step in the right direction", he said.
The deal must now be signed off by EU governments and the European Parliament, and the new framework for subsidies still needs to be agreed.
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