The Beacon

EU Takes a Big Step to Healthy Fisheries

Polish fishing boat in the Baltic Sea | © OCEANA / Carlos Suárez

Big news out of Oceana Europe today! Given that the EU is one of the 10 governing bodies that controls a majority of the world's fisheries, it's a big damn deal whether they manage their fisheries well. With so many countries weighing in, reaching a good Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is no simple task. As of today, they have taken a huge step toward that goal.

Early this morning, May 30, the European Parliament and Fisheries Council reached a political agreement on the main elements of the updated CFP. The key elements are that the future CFP will:

  • Ensure that stocks are rebuilt above levels which can produce the Maximum Sustainable Yield
  • Ban discards
  • Generally transition the fishing industry into fishing much more sustainably

These all amount to a short-term reduction in catch limits, which will allow fish populations to grow to the point where limits can be raised again later when the ecosystem can handle it. The big question now? Enforcement.

As Amelie Malafosse, Oceana policy advisor, noted, "The success of any policy depends on two things: what’s written and how we implement it. The agreement found this morning is a step forward compared to the current policy. The 2002 CFP was by no means perfect, but a better implementation would have offset many of its shortcomings. This time, to make reality happen and ensure that EU fisheries policy becomes a success, Member States will have to walk the talk."

In this first big step, we congratulate Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ulrike Rodust and the Irish presidency for ensuring that the future Common Fisheries Policy will restore the health of our seas.

Oceana Executive Director Xavier Pastor sums it up well that "today’s outcome shows that we can trust that fisheries are in good hands with the Parliament playing a role in designing this policy and future implementation."

The deal still needs to be approved by the Plenary of the European Parliament and the CFP's financial component is still to be settled. You can be sure Oceana is going to be there the whole way to look out for the health and wellbeing of the oceans and ocean creatures.

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