EP Committee on Fisheries supports sustainable fishing methods. (Photo: GFCM/EP)
MEPs back harsher treatment of countries that fish unsustainably
Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
The European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries (PECH) supports imposing trade sanctions on third countries that do not abide by international rules on sustainable fishing methods. This week, MEPs adopted a report on the proposal for a regulation on certain measures regarding countries that practice unsustainable fishing.
Unlike the stance of the European Commission’s (EC) proposal, this one gives non-European Union (EU) countries just one month to reply instead of four before sanctions are applied.
Iceland appears to be the main target of the regulation as a result of its mackerel dispute with the EU, Europolitics reports.
“The EU being a lucrative market of destination for fisheries products, it has a particular responsibility in ensuring sustainable fishing and the respect of obligations deriving from the common management of straddling and migratory stocks,” the report justifies. “It is therefore necessary to provide the EU with effective means to take action against any state unwilling to assume such a responsibility or not cooperating in the adoption and implementation of agreed management measures in order to disincentivise unsustainable fishing.”
“Any blatant lack of good will in working towards agreed measures has to be met with firm action, as it may not only adversely affect EU fisheries but also lead to considerable depletion of fish stocks, in spite of other coastal states engaging in a moderation of their fishing effort,” it adds.
The draft regulation concerns any fish stock whose geographical distribution makes it available to the fleets of both member states and non-EU countries and whose management requires cooperation between the EU and third countries. MEPs also include fish stocks managed by a regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO) to which the EU is a contracting party.
The proposal seeks to establish a framework for adopting certain measures regarding fisheries-related activities and policies by third countries to ensure long-term sustainability of fish stocks of common interest between the EU and third countries. A procedure is given for the adoption of equitable and cost-effective measures to promote the sustainability of fisheries; describes the countries authorising non-sustainable fishing targeted by these measures, the different types of measures that can be adopted and the conditions determining when and where this can happen.
The draft regulation also defines the steps to be taken prior to the adoption of measures against such countries, such as giving them time to correct their actions.
Regarding the mackerel dispute, after meeting with the Norwegian Minister for Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, Commissioner Maria Damanaki said they expect Iceland and the Faroe Islands to return to the negotiating table in a responsible manner and to fully respect the sustainability of the mackerel population.
By Natalia Real