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EP votes on deep-sea fishing

20 Mar 2013

European Parliament has voted today on a proposal to amend the conditions for deep-sea fishing in the North-East Atlantic Ocean.

The Environment Committee has adopted an ambitious text that environmental group Oceana says would set these fisheries on the path to sustainability.

The proposal is for a precautionary approach to deep-sea fisheries management, a key point being that deep-sea fishing should only be allowed when and where it is demonstrated to be sustainable.

Other key elements include measures to ensure that deep-sea fish stocks are restored above levels which can produce MSY; catch limits for deep-sea fish stocks to be set in strict accordance with scientific advice; the phasing-out of deep-sea bottom trawls and bottom-set gillnets; management measures for the conservation of highly vulnerable species; and the identification and protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems.

“To date, European management has failed deep-sea fisheries, leaving 100% of supposedly managed stocks fished beyond safe biological limits, and legally allowing the destruction of vulnerable ecosystems such as deep-sea coral reefs and sponge beds,” said Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “By adopting this report, the members of the Environment Committee have built on the Parliament’s ambition to reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and have clearly stated that fisheries mismanagement must become a thing of the past.”

The Fisheries Committee is expected to adopt its position in April and the plenary vote is set to take place in June.