EU citizens’ representatives stand up for a sustainable future for EU fisheries

EU Parliament votes in favour of proposed reform; agrees to rebuild fish stocks above MSY, ban wasteful practice of discards and better spend EU subsidies.

Press Release Date: December 18, 2012

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Today, after eighteen months of negotiations, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament finally voted on the reform of the basic regulation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). This was an historical vote, because it was the first time the EU Parliament – the voice of European citizens – is acting as a co-legislator in a once-in-a-decade opportunity to radically reform European fisheries management. Oceana congratulates Members of Parliament for taking a stand for a true reform of the CFP, which will end overfishing and greatly improve fisheries management in the EU.

At this turning point for European fisheries, Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe issued the following statement:

«Today, we, EU citizens, have broken the EU governments’ tradition of overexploiting fisheries resources and destroying our natural marine heritage in favour of short-term interests that have put the industry in decline. Today, we have a first hopeful look towards a future where fish stocks are sustainably managed and coastal communities’ livelihoods are guaranteed by plentiful seas.”

Members of the Fisheries Committee voted during more than three hours on the 2500 amendments tabled to MEP Ulrike Rodust’s report. Of the amendments adopted, Oceana welcomes in particular:

  • Obligation to set fishing opportunities by 2015 above MSY levels, in order for stocks to recover by 2020
  • Clear ban on discards within a definite timeline; proceeds from the landing of unwanted catches should be reverted to a fund to be used for data collection and control
  • Obligation for the fishing  industry to contribute to the costs of data collection and control
  • Freeze of funding to fishers that do not comply with fishing rules, and freeze of funding to Member States that do not achieve the objectives set in EU fishing legislation
  • Obligation to adjust fishing capacity to fishing opportunities and a thorough assessment of the fishing capacity of Member States
  • Good integration of environmental legislation and creation of a network of fish stock recovery areas
  • Better transparency of the fisheries legislative process and fisheries management

The plenary sitting of the European Parliament is expected to vote to validate or overturn the Fisheries Committee position during the first quarter of 2013. With the outcome of today’s vote, the European Parliament should have strong arguments for achieving an ambitious reform, when they begin negotiating with the Council of Fisheries Ministers, who adopted a disappointing preliminary position six months ago.

Learn more: Common Fisheries Policy