Oceana: EU ministers make progress, but fall short of ambitious CFP reform

Despite some improvements, troubling loopholes remain, including a weak discard ban that still allows a substantial amount of waste

Press Release Date: May 15, 2013

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

At 6 am this morning, in Brussels, after 36 hours of negotiations, the 27 fisheries ministers of the European Union agreed on a new mandate for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. While details are still coming in, the public debate and press conference indicated that while some movement has been made, the final outcome falls short from what is needed to reverse the concerning state of European fisheries.

The most controversial issues of the CFP reform were the subject of this meeting. Oceana is pleased that the Council finally agreed that rebuilding fish stocks should be ultimate objective of that policy, but remains concerned that Ministers are not yet willing to commit to a timeline. While they decreased the percentage of exemptions to the discard ban from 7 to 5%, it still means that substantial amounts of fish will be thrown back at sea and that the wasteful practice of discarding will continue.

“We acknowledge the progress that has been made in the council position, but the public should be made aware of what this outcome would represent. With half of EU fish stocks overexploited, Ministers have delivered a compromise that does not match the ambition of the Parliament and is not enough to restore stocks,” stated Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.

The Presidency is meeting today with MEP Rodust, rapporteur of the European Parliament to present the updated mandate.

For more information: Common Fisheries Policy