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December 17, 2012

What a week ahead!

© OCEANA / Gorka Leclercq


There is nothing like ending the year with a bang, and this week, a couple of major votes and decisions are coming up that will affect EU fisheries.

Tomorrow, the PECH Committee of the European Parliament is voting on the reform of the CFP – this is the last and most important vote in the Parliament before it goes to Plenary. There are 3000 amendments and we, along with a group of NGOs in Brussels are working hard to make sure this reform is the radical change Europe needs to restore its oceans, embrace sustainable fisheries, and continue feeding generations of Europeans to come.

What’s at stake you ask? As I mentioned there are thousands of amendments, but some of our top concerns are to make sure that the final text includes the objective to rebuild stocks above levels which can produce the Maximum Sustainable Yield, the obligation to land all catches, and an effective discard ban.

The Budget Committee will be voting on the funding mechanism for the EU fisheries, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). After the positive outcome of the ENVI Committee on this issue, we’re hoping the trend continues and they refuse to include subsidies for new boats and vessel modernization.

But that’s not all: for the next two days, the Council of European fisheries ministers will be meeting to decide on several big issues including fishing opportunities for 2013. To put it simply: they are going to decide whether 2013 will be another in a long line of years wherein they choose to ignore scientific advice (they’ve ignored 41% of it in the past decade) and set quotas that are higher than what can be fished sustainably. Or they are going to show that they are true to their word when they speak of a sustainable future for EU fisheries, and set quotas that are responsible and will help put the EU on track to recovering its marine resources and rebuilding its declining fishing industry.

So this is it – will Parliamentarians and Ministers send out a beacon of hope for 2013, or will they fall back on short term interests.

Stay tuned.