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Joan Edwards

Joan Edwards is the Head of Living Seas at The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts.

Posted: Wednesday 19th December 2012 by LivingSeas

Saithe © Paul NaylorSaithe © Paul Naylor

Yesterday, the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee voted on the most important issues that will lead to the reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

MEPs have expressed their will to lead European fish stocks to a more sustainable future and have agreed to measures such as restoring fish stocks to healthy levels, setting fishing limits according to scientific advice and ending discards within defined timescales.

This vote is very significant and is a result of a change in EU decision-making on fisheries policy.  In the past, decisions were made by  fishery ministers who would go to the table to negotiate in order to prevent losing quotas for their countries. So the future of our fish stocks was based on politics rather than science.

Now MEPs in the European Parliament have a key role which has meant a change in the way politicians consider the future of our fish stocks. At last, the new parliamentary process is able to consider  the adoption of a new regulatory framework that will provide for healthy fish stocks and thriving coastal communities.

MEPs voted to ensure fishing limits will be set according to scientific advice, rather than through political deals. They agreed to set sustainable fishing limits by 2015 at levels that should allow fish stocks to recover by 2020 to healthy levels above Maximum Sustainable Yield. And they made access to funding conditional upon compliance with the rules set under the CFP to ensure fewer infringements.

While the gradual introduction of a discard ban was agreed upon, provisions for potential exemptions from the obligation to land all catches are a reason for some concern.

Over the coming months there will be a full vote of all MEPs in the European Parliament and negotiations with fisheries ministers.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we have a reformed CFP in 2014.

You can find out more about reform of the CFP and terms like Maximum Sustainable Yield on OCEAN2012’s webpage and read more about our priorities for CFP below.


FilenameFile size
CFP COLOUR FINAL December 2012.pdf155.61 KB

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