The European Commission has welcomed a decision by members of the European Parliament to support its proposals for a new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The proposals aim to make fishing a more sustainable activity by improving its environmental, economic and social accountability. The vote in favour of the plans now paves the way for negotiations to begin with the European Council on finalising a new fisheries deal. Read more…
Europe’s fishing policies are in urgent need of reform. Vessels are catching more fish than can be safely reproduced, thus exhausting individual fish stocks and threatening the marine ecosystem. Currently 80% of Mediterranean stocks and 47% of Atlantic stocks are being overfished, resulting in the European fishing industry netting smaller catches and facing an uncertain future.
Sustainability is at the heart of the proposed reform of the CFP to 2015. This requires managing the volume of fish taken out of the sea to achieve a ‘maximum sustainable yield’ – in other words, the largest amount of fish that can be taken each year that does not endanger fish stocks, but maintains the fish population size at maximum productivity. Fishing sustainably is also intended to free the fishing industry from dependence on public subsidies, making it easier to achieve stable prices and bringing clear benefits for consumers.
The main objective of the Commission’s proposals is to develop a more modern and simpler CFP that provides European citizens with a stable, secure and healthy food supply, while simultaneously creating new prosperity within the fishing sector. Plans to bring fish stocks back to sustainable levels include banning the practice of discarding unwanted fish, and setting fishing opportunities based on scientific evidence. The Commission also wants to introduce a multi-annual ecosystem-based management plan, regionalised governance, and the development of sustainable aquaculture.
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