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May 6, 2013

An update on the CFP: where we stand


It’s been a while since we’ve updated you on where the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) stands. A few months ago, when the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted for sustainable fisheries in Europe, we saw the will of the people turn into reality. That future is not yet set in stone though, and as negotiations ramp up we’ve been working with our NGO colleagues to keep the pressure on decision makers ahead of next week’s meeting of the Council of Fisheries Ministers. The meeting will be crucial – the 27 ministers are expected to agree on a new mandate for the negotiations with the Parliament on the 4 most crucial (and controversial) issues: stock recovery targets, the discard ban, fishing capacity management and regionalization.

This past week, as part of our efforts, we met with Irish Minister Coveney in Dublin to discuss our concerns that several EU countries including France, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Greece and Romania are not showing a willingness to compromise with Members of Parliament in negotiations to finalize the CFP.

We are in the final stretch. The worst case scenario would happen if they don’t agree to have a new mandate, and instead stick to the general approach they agreed on in February, which is leagues away from the Parliament’s ambitious proposal. If this happens, negotiations will be stalled and the entire process will be delayed and could even collapse completely. In fact if the CFP reform negotiations are not finalized by April next year, we could have to start all over again, from scratch with a new proposal from a new Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs and a new parliament.

On the other hand, (and here’s to hoping for the best) if the Council can reach a compromise and agree on a new (and better) mandate, then there is a chance that the Irish presidency can close the deal with the Parliament on those issues in June.

Pfew! Complicated isn’t it? We’ll keep on top of it and let you know any progress that is made! Stay tuned, and don’t forget that you still have time to make yourself heard by signing up for the All Aboard campaign and letting your Minister know that you stand for sustainable fisheries in Europe.   

Let us know if you have any questions! We’d be happy to answer them.