Posted: Wednesday 15th May 2013 by Joan
Sprat shoal - Paul Naylor
In the early hours of this morning, after a long and arduous negotiation, 27 EU Fisheries Ministers agreed a new mandate for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
The devil is in the detail - which will not be available for a few days - but it would appear that whilst positive steps have been made some aspects still lack ambition.
While Ministers have agreed an overall objective of rebuilding fish stocks, they have not been able to commit to a timeline. This will make setting fishing limits that will lead to early recovery of fish stocks more difficult.
The references this morning to ‘detailed measures to ban the discarding of fish’ are a step in the right direction. A ban will be introduced on 1 January 2015 for ‘Pelagic’ fisheries (fish found near the water’s surface such as Mackerel and Herring), with a further ban following for other fisheries on 1 January 2016. However, while Ministers have 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 in some fisheries will continue.
This is still not the final deal as further negotiations with the more reform-minded European Parliament will take place later this month.