Parliament environment committee takes a stand on fisheries reform

Joint statement by Birdlife Europe, Greenpeace, OCEAN2012, Oceana and WWF.

Press Release Date: May 8, 2012

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Brussels, 8 May 2012 – A broad coalition of civil society groups praised the European Parliament environment committee for its strong stand today on EU fisheries reform. In a vote on the reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the members of the Parliament overwhelmingly supported measures to recover fish stocks, promote environmental protection of the marine environment and reduce fishing pressure while supporting sustainable fishing.

Birdlife Europe, Greenpeace, OCEAN2012, Oceana and WWF in particular welcome:

  • commitment to restore fish populations above sustainable levels (known as the maximum sustainable yield) by 2015 and to improve the environmental standards of fishing to achieve healthy seas by 2020;
  • support for preferential access to fishing for the most sustainable operations, ensuring that quotas not to exceed  scientific advice;
  • rejection of the proposed mandatory transferable fishing concessions (TFCs);
  • support for a requirement for EU Member States to assess their fishing capacity and adjust it to sustainable fishing limits;
  • support for the principle of granting EU subsidies only if recipients comply with EU fishing rules;
  • support for a regionalised implementation of fisheries management through multiannual plans; and
  • a strengthened social and environmental dimension in the EU’s international fishing activities.

EU fisheries ministers are expected to agree on a general approach to fisheries reform in early June, while the Parliament’s fisheries committee (the lead committee) is due to vote in early July. The civil society groups ask all MEPs outside the environment committee to show the same ambition in the plenary vote in early September.

The current CFP has failed to rebuild fish stocks, reduce excessive fleet capacity and halt overfishing. According to the European Commission, the European fleet can currently catch two to three times more than what the ocean can provide sustainably, while 63% of assessed stocks in the Atlantic and 82% in the Mediterranean are overfished.