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February 6, 2013

A toast to the sustainable future of EU fisheries

BY: Angela Pauly


© OCEANA/ Enrique Talledo


As you all must know by now, if you follow us on the blog, facebook or twitter, today was one of the most important days for the future of European fisheries. For over 20 months, Oceana has been working to make sure that the once in a decade opportunity to reform the failed EU fisheries policy was not wasted – and we were not disappointed. The outcome of today’s vote in the European Parliament Plenary on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy was beyond what we expected and thankfully, European fisheries management has the opportunity to take a giant leap forward.

MEPs overwhelmingly voted (502-137) to pass a comprehensive reform policy – stronger even than the fisheries council’s version – which includes amendments that require member states to most importantly, fish all stocks at sustainable levels by 2015 thus setting a clear target for rebuilding fish stocks, and comply with a strong EU wide discard ban.

Other key amendments include requirements to:

  • follow scientific advice and adopt the precautionary principle in setting annual fishing quotas,
  • establish transparency with regards to data and fishing opportunities,
  • establish strong definitions for fishing protected areas and low impact fisheries,
  • support the establishment of fish stock recovery areas,
  • comply with environmental legislation which requires achieve good environmental status of marine waters by 2020.

Furthermore, with regards to subsidies, an amendment was included which requires Member States to comply with CFP rules in order to be eligible for subsidies.

So where does that leave us? Now, the Parliament and the Council of Fisheries Ministers must come together to form a compromise – we are almost there!

A word from our executive director, Xavier Pastor: «Today the EU took a major step towards the proper management of our fishery resources. On behalf of Oceana, I thank all the representatives of European citizens for backing worldwide calls to act urgently for the health and future of our oceans.»

We couldn’t have said it better!