European Parliament holds debate on fisheries initiatives

Commissioner Maria Damanaki participated in a joint debate at the European Parliament plenary on five reports on:

• Shark Finning (Patrao Neves-report),

Read more about the European Commission proposal on Strengthening EU shark finning ban

• Multiannual plan for the Baltic salmon stock (Gróbarcyzk-report),

• Conservation of fishery resources through technical measures (Gallagher-report),

• Small-scale fisheries (Ferreira-report),

Read more and comment on this on Maria Damanaki's blog "Learning from our mistakes" and see also European Artisanal Fishermen’s Declaration presented to Commissioner Damanaki

• The external dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy (Lövin-report).

Read more and comment on this on Maria Damanaki's blog "A bold external action for sustainable fisheries management worldwide" 

Watch the debate

The European Parliament is voting on all five reports on 22 November.

Commissioner Damanaki intervention at the debate:

"Mr President, Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank all rapporteurs for their work on these important reports.

Let me start with the multiannual plan for the Baltic salmon stock. I would first like to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Gróbarczyk. I welcome Parliament's endorsement that this stock should be managed according to the principle of Maximum Sustainable Yield. I also welcome ideas that would increase the protection of the stocks, like higher smolt production targets in rivers.

Turning now to the proposal on transitional technical measures: I would like to thank Mr Gallagher for his efforts making a timely agreement possible. Discontinuation of these measures (even temporarily) would have negative consequences for the conservation of some stocks and for vulnerable marine habitats and I am therefore pleased that agreement was found on this proposal.

Let me move now to the shark finning proposal. I think we all agree that we have to eradicate the horrendous practice of shark finning and protect sharks much better. Our current rules, which allow shark fins to be removed on board, are very difficult to control in practice. These rules do not provide sufficient safeguards to avoid that finning takes place and that carcasses are discarded. I believe that rules that cannot be controlled in practice are just not good enough. It is therefore essential that all sharks are landed with their fins still attached, without any derogations.

Many important shark fishing nations have already adopted fins-attached laws, and their fishermen have shown that this is possible, while remaining profitable. Some EU fleets have also voluntarily adopted a fins-attached practice without complaining about additional costs. Regional Fisheries Management Organisations are also moving towards fins-attached rules.I hope I can count on the support of this House to close any remaining loopholes in the rules.

Let me now say a few words on the two very important own initiative reports we are debating today:

Small-scale fisheries are extremely important in Union fisheries. More than three out of four European vessels are small-scale coastal vessels, generating jobs and income, and contributing to the social fabric of our coastal communities. Small-scale fisheries are also likely to benefit the most from a reformed fisheries policy based on a clear and time-bound obligation to manage stocks at MSY levels and to eliminate discards. They are also likely to benefit from the introduction of fish stock recovery areas in territorial waters. I am therefore looking favourably at the idea of fish stock recovery areas as an effective conservation tool.

Our reform proposals place a special emphasis on small-scale fleets: we relieve small vessels from administrative and unnecessary financial burden; we differentiate fleet capacity management; we provide specific support from our new financial instrument. I would like to thank Mr Ferreira for his report, which highlights many important elements. I am grateful for such constructive contributions on the role of small-scale fishing in the future policy.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to congratulate Mrs Lövin for her report on the external dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy. This report is a major and a timely contribution. It looks beyond the Common Fisheries Policy, into other policies that have an important impact on the sustainable management of international fisheries resources, such as trade and foreign policy.

I am very pleased that Parliament shows broad support for bold external action for sustainable fisheries management worldwide. This will improve our standing as an important fishing and market entity for sound and efficient fisheries management. It will also strengthen our position in negotiations with third parties to move forward the sustainability agenda and the global fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. As you know, last week, the Commission initiated a procedure against 8 countries for failing to address IUU fishing. I would like to thank Parliament for its support on this file.

I also welcome that this report endorses the need for bilateral agreements and supports the idea of a new generation of sustainable bilateral agreements that would lead to a stable and transparent framework for both our partners and our industry. In particular, I appreciate that Parliament supports our proposal that the European fishing industry should take over a more important financial share of the costs when acquiring access rights to non-EU fishing zones.

I would like once again to thank all rapporteurs and the Fisheries Committee for their work and I look forward to the debate."

Last update: 17/04/2013 |  Top