Nikolaos Salavrakos, author of the resolution passed by the Fisheries Committee to support sustainable fisheries. (Photo: European Union 2012)
CFP reform should make fisheries sustainable, resolution states
Friday, July 13, 2012, 01:40 (GMT + 9)
Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform must make fisheries sustainable to ensure the survival of European fishing fleets and coastal areas, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament determined in a non-binding resolution passed this week.
When European Union (EU) stocks are not managed sustainably, 75 per cent of them are overfished, which means expenses of about EUR 1.8 billion a year for the EU, it adds.
"Despite some progress made since the last reform, the CFP has so far failed to deliver its main objective: to secure enough fish in our seas and thus ensure the survival of fishermen and coastal communities. My report is a first signal of how the new CFP should be designed to remove its deficiencies and make fisheries not only environmentally more sustainable, but also more attractive, efficient and profitable," stated author of the resolution Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD, EL).
The resolution opens the door for a Fisheries Committee vote on the basic CFP regulation in October and a plenary one in November. This will be the first CFP reform to be shaped by the European Parliament as an equal partner of the Council.
The resolution states that sustainable fishing based on multiannual management plans to keep all stocks above levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yields (MSY) should be the key aim, and the new basic regulation must set a clear timetable to achieve this goal.
Both the fishing industry and regional stakeholders must be strongly involved in developing sustainable fishing methods and fishers should be offered incentives to use environmentally sustainable, low-impact and selective fishing gear, the resolution affirms.
To better assess the current state of stocks, especially in mixed fisheries where reliable data are lacking, the resolution wants adequate funding for data collection at the EU level. Sanctions could be imposed on Member States that do not comply.
The resolution also says that the EU should phase in a fishery-based ban on discards, along with technical measures including more selective gear, to reduce or eliminate bycatch. The ultimate aim is to prevent bycatch altogether, say MEPs, who also call for safeguards to avert the creation of a parallel market in discards.
To enforce the ban, the EU Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) must have sufficient powers and resources to help Member States implement the new rules and impose sanctions. More funds should be made available to develop more selective fishing gear, says the resolution.
Moreover, safeguards are needed to ensure that the proposed system of transferable fishing concessions (TFCs), meant to lower the overcapacity of the EU fishing fleet, does not give fishing rights to a few traders and thus create an anti-competitive environment, at the expense of small-scale fisheries, say MEPs. TFC schemes should remain voluntary and Member States should take their own measures to align fishing vessel capacity with sustainable exploitation of fish stocks, the resolution adds.
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Photo Courtesy of FIS Member European Commission - Fisheries and Maritime Affairs