Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy - Letter from Commissioner Damanaki to the European Parliament Committee on Fisheries
Mrs Carmen FRAGA ESTEVEZ MEP
President of the Fisheries Committee
Dear Ms Fraga,
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to present the proposals for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy at the meeting of the EP Fisheries Committee on 13 July, right after their unanimous adoption by the College of Commissioners. I found this first exchange of views with Members of your Committee very useful and I have listened carefully to the opinions and questions of the Honourable Members.
As I had promised at the end of our meeting I would like to offer some clarifications on the main issues discussed during the Committee meeting and I would kindly ask you to share these with the Members of the Committee. I hope that Members of your Committee will find these clarifications useful and that they will help them in the important work ahead.
Joint statement on Mackerel Fishery in the North Atlantic by Maria Damanaki, European Union Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway
"We are deeply concerned about the irresponsible actions of Faroe Islands and Iceland in setting excessive unilateral quotas for their 2011 mackerel fisheries.
We are also deeply concerned about the Faroe Islands chartering foreign vessels to catch their unilateral quota in a clear move away from responsible, modern fisheries management.
These unilateral mackerel quotas far exceed their traditional level since 1999 and they overshoot the total catch recommended by scientists for the whole of the European fishery by almost 50%. Such an excessive exploitation poses a threat to the health of that important fish stock and it violates our common interest in a sustainable fishery.
We are committed to cooperating closely to avert further damage for the mackerel stocks in the North Atlantic, caused by the unilateral actions of Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The European Union and Norway are examining all possible options for stopping this damaging exploitation. We intend to coordinate our actions.
We call on Iceland and the Faroe Islands to return to the negotiating table with a constructive approach and to agree on common fishery arrangements for 2012 that are responsible and sustainable."
Commissioner Maria Damanaki met today Olivier Roellinger from Relais et Châteux and Peter Weeden (Head Chef at Paternoster Chop House in London), the 2011 Seafood Choices Seafood Champions for their outstanding leadership on the issue of Seafood Sustainability.
The discussion focussed mainly on the need to introduce new kinds of fish on our diet, which would contribute to reduce the problem of discards, and on the necessity to provide clear and transparent labelling.
After an outline of its main priorities for the second semester of 2011 by the Polish Presidency, Commissioner Maria Damanaki is presenting the Common Fisheries Policy reform package to the EU Ministers, convened at the Council this morning.
The proposals for the reform have been adopted by the European Commission on the 13th of July and are being submitted to the European Parliament and Council for adoption under the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision). The Commission aims for entry into force by 1 January 2013.
The European Commission presents today its proposal for a major reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The aim is to secure both fish stocks and fishermen's livelihood for the future while putting an end to overfishing and depletion of fish stocks.
Commissioner Damanaki 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."
She continued: "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."
Commissioner Damanaki's speech "Breaking the circle: introducing a new Common Fisheries Policy [39 KB] "
"Getting it right - The birth of a new Common Fisheries Policy [4 MB] " - Presentation of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy to the European Parliament Committee for Fisheries
Even if I and the Commission services managed to discuss widely the main topics of the reform with the stakeholders –be them fishermen's association, the industry, environmental organisations, …–, getting in direct contact with all those interested is not always easy and possible. But I will try.
To reply to your questions and address your concerns, I will be on Twitter, on Thursday 14 July, from 11:00 AM to midday.
So, if you want to "have a chat" about the reform, just tweet your question, mentioning my account @MariaDamanakiEU. You can also submit your questions in advance, as from today.
The European Commission today proposed fishing opportunities for anchovy fishing in the Bay of Biscay for the season 1 July 2011 - 30 June 2012. Based on recent scientific advice confirming that the stock is in a good state and above safe biological limits, a total allowable catch of 29.700 tonnes is proposed. The catch limit proposed is in line with the Commission's proposal for a multi-annual management plan for the anchovy stock, as tabled in 2009.
Commissioner Damanaki stated: "Long-term planning of the exploitation of fish stocks is –and will continue to be– the only way of ensuring sustainability, reducing the risk of collapse, while offering to fishermen the economic security they need. Today's proposal tabled today brings very good news from a stock whose collapse led the fishery to a closure between 2005 and 2009. This is a good example that sustainable fisheries management, based on a long-term approach and with involvement of the industry pays off."
Commissioner Maria Damanaki
On behalf of the European Commission, I wish to express my deepest condolences to the Norwegian Government and People for their tragedy.
We share the sorrow of the victims' families: their sacrifice was not for nothing.
On Thursday, Commissioner Damanaki represented the Commission at the plenary meeting of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg.
She intervened in the discussions on the European scheme for food distribution to the most deprived persons in the Union. Under this scheme, each year more than 18 million people receive more than 440.000 tons of food and that has become one of the main sources of supply to charities working in the field of food aid. Commissioner Damanaki expressed the firm commitment of the Commission to the continuation of the scheme in the future and referred to the Commission's proposal to allocate 2.8 billion euros for the food aid programme in the multi-annual financial framework for 2014-2020.
She also added that "In the framework of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy that I will propose next week, we will create a margin of fish food for this purpose, as stopping discards, fishermen will be obliged to land all catches and this program can benefit from the fish that cannot be sold in absence of quotas".