Press points for June Council, Luxembourg

Introduction

•        Today's Council meeting has seen us move forward on a number of fronts. Our discussions both on fishing opportunities for 2011 and on the options for the upcoming far-reaching reform of the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy have underlined our commitment to pushing ahead the agenda of change towards a sustainable fisheries policy.

•        I would particularly like to thank the Spanish presidency and minister Elena Espinosa for conducting a very fruitful and constructive role in this debate in council, but also outside of the Council with stakeholders through the many events and debates she has organised and conducted.

 Fishing opportunities

•        We discussed the basic principles I believe we must abide by when setting fishing opportunities. These include respecting long-term plans, following scientific advice, meeting international commitments, reducing overfishing, and pursuing sustainable fishing and sustainable fish stocks.

•        progress towards reducing overfishing and improving sustainability in our stocks remains alarmingly slow. This is something we need to address – and fast. For instance, we cannot hope to make faster progress if we constantly have to soften TAC reductions because Member states bring us their own data. We simply have to get our act together in order to meet maximum sustainable yield targets, and eliminate derogations and exceptions. I have asked that scientific advice move towards mortality rates that will enable us to meet these targets.

CFP reform options

•        The meeting today gave us an important opportunity to delve more deeply into what I call the no change scenario or in other words what would happen by 2022 if we continued the policy we have now. The outlook is not good as you can imagine, because fishermen's income will continue to be vulnerable to high fuel prices and our industry will still not be able to make a decent living from their activity. The long term plans that we are putting in place will certainly help to turn around the development and to rebuild some fish stocks, but this development is far too slow. We intend to come forward with proposals for the CFP reform by summer 2011. But here we need a real change. We cannot go with "business as usual" if we are referring to a reform.

European Fisheries Fund implementation

•        The Commission remains concerned at the low level of implementation of the EFF budget by Member States.

•        I do urge fisheries ministers to do all they can to improve administration requirements in order to speed up implementation in the coming months. Beneficiaries should get the assistance they need and Member States should have their payments reimbursed.

 Conclusion

•        Today's Council meeting has set the tone for our future work to make our fisheries industry and maritime communities sources of sustainability and growth.

•        Our vision must be a long-term one; there can be no more room for short-termism. We need to keep stocks healthy. If we cannot do this we will be failing our fishermen, coastal communities, marine environment and society at large at one and the same time.

 

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Video: Agriculture and Fisheries Council:- extracts from the press conference (Fisheries)

Last update: 17/04/2013 |  Top