In its proposals for a major reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the European Commission on Wednesday 13 July set out a radical approach to fisheries management in Europe, based on scientific advice. The JRC will further strengthen its role as science provider and continue to assist the Commission on fisheries science and economics, as well as manage an electronic platform sharing Member States fisheries data.
The plan aims to end overfishing, restore fish stocks to sustainable levels by 2015 and allow operators to lease concessions of at least 15 years. These concessions will give the fishing industry a longer-term perspective, more flexibility and greater accountability, while at the same time reducing overcapacity. The practice of throwing unwanted fish overboard, known as discarding, will be phased out and fishermen will be obliged to land all the commercial species that they catch.
The proposal stresses the need for the availability of reliable and complete data sets relevant for the fisheries sector and establishes rules and obligations for Member States on data collection and management. The JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) is instrumental for the successful outcome of this delicate exercise, as it is in charge of collecting these data from Member States through a dedicated Data Collection website.
It also provides the administrative and scientific secretariat of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), coordinating its work and ensuring that the great wealth of scientific expertise can be fully integrated into the CFP. Finally, JRC will continue its independent research on other relevant topics such as control and enforcement strategies; this will include the use of innovative and new technologies based inter alia on genetics and genomics.
The Commission aims for the adoption and entry into force of the reformed package on fisheries by 1 January 2013.