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AGRIFISH Council: Ministers to discuss sustainable fishing opportunities, improved enforcement of fisheries rules and the proposal for the future EU Maritime and Fisheries Fund

AGRIFISH Council: Ministers to discuss sustainable fishing opportunities, improved enforcement of fisheries rules and the proposal for the future EU Maritime and Fisheries Fund

AGRIFISH Council: Ministers to discuss sustainable fishing opportunities, improved enforcement of fisheries rules and the proposal for the future EU Maritime and Fisheries Fund

15/06/2018 - 13:27

The meeting of European agriculture and fisheries ministers on Monday 18 May will address a number of important issues for the EU maritime and fisheries policy.

EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will be at the Council in Luxembourg to present and discuss the Commission’s 'Policy Statement' setting the stage for the proposals that will come later for fishing opportunities for 2019 as well as the recent legislative proposals on a revision of the European fisheries control system and a Regulation for a new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

Ministers are expected to have an exchange of views on the Policy Statement. This annual Communication sets out the rational for the subsequent Commission proposals on the fishing opportunities for 2019. Progress made next year will be crucial for achieving the EU’s objective of securing sustainable fisheries in its waters. This will include the full phasing in of the landing obligation, requiring fishermen to land all catches to stop the wasteful practice of throwing unwanted fish back in the sea. Until end of August, a public consultation invites Member States, Advisory Councils, other stakeholders and citizens to comment on the Commission Communication. In the autumn, the Commission will table its proposals for fishing opportunities, based on independent scientific advice. The Council will then aim at a final agreement in its meeting of October (fishing opportunities for the Baltic), November (fishing opportunities for the deep-sea) and December (fishing opportunities for the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Black Sea).

Commissioner Vella will also present the recent proposal to improve, modernise and simplify the way in which fishing rules are monitored and enforced in the EU. An effective control system is central to ensuring that fisheries are managed sustainably, guaranteeing the long-term viability of the EU fishing sector and protecting the livelihoods of our fishermen. Ministers will have a first exchange of views on the proposed revision, which wants to make control more efficient to the benefit of EU fisheries. The fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing will benefit from improved enforcement of fisheries rules across the EU.

Finally, a preliminary exchange of views will take place among ministers on the Commission’s proposal for the next European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), recently tabled following the adoption of the EU’s long-term Budget for the Future (2021-2027). The new EMFF will continue to support the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy, ensuring that fishing activities are environmentally sustainable in the long-term and that the sector generates economic, social and employment benefits. Particular attention will be paid to small-scale fishermen. EMFF will also support unleashing the growth potential of a sustainable blue economy towards a more prosperous future for coastal communities. For the first time, the Fund will contribute to strengthening international ocean governance for safer, cleaner, more secure, and sustainably managed seas and oceans. Finally, the Commission is reinforcing the environmental impact of the Fund with a focus on protecting marine ecosystems and underpinning climate change mitigation and adaptation, in line with the commitments agreed under the Paris Agreement.

The public session can be followed online