Have you ever witnessed something and realised you were in the middle of a historic moment? That is how we all felt at Oceana when on the 18thDecember 2012, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament opened a new page in the history of fisheries management in Europe and supported a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy that would end thirty years of overfishing.
On Wednesday, February 6th,in Strasbourg (France) if they follow suit, the 754 Members of European Parliament, will also make history in their first go as co-legislators of European fisheries policy, if they will set the objectives right for the next decade.
What is at stake is what we have talked about so many times in this blog: In order to save the oceans and feed the world, we must rebuild fish stocks instead of overfishing them and transition towards low impact fishing instead of destroying marine habitats and ecosystems.
In the weeks following the vote, another battle will quickly start when the rapporteur for the European Parliament Ulrike Rodust will be holding regular working sessions with the Council of Fisheries Ministers represented by Irish fisheries minister Simon Coveney and the Commission, to look for an agreement on the final text of the reform. In order for her to be able push forward with an ambitious reform, she will need to come to the table with as much support as possible.
So this week’s vote is not just about winning, it is about winning with an overwhelming majority that will give Ms Rodust the power to defend the interests of future generations.