EC puts decision on how to protect marine environments and avoid unwanted catches in the hands of Member States
Press Release Date: March 11, 2016
Oceana values the new framework of technical measures proposed today by the European Commission as an opportunity to reduce the impacts of fishing activities, but warns about the risk of not defining ambitious and definite objectives. This new set of rules will establish how, where and when fishermen may operate, but for the first time will be adjusted to the specifics of the different European fisheries.
“The Commission’s proposals move towards simplification, regionalisation and result-based principles. This innovative approach is a positive move, but only if it is truly aimed at reducing unwanted catches and minimising impacts on the marine environment”, explains Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “Under the proposed regulation, it could remain legal to catch fish that haven’t yet reached their reproductive maturity. This has to stop. Better targeted fisheries result in a healthier environment which will lead to more jobs in the fishing industry”.
The Commission’s proposals will now need to be discussed by the European Parliament and the EU fisheries ministers. Oceana contends that the following provisions, among others, should be included in the final draft of the technical measures framework regulation in order to exploit fish resources more sustainably and protect marine ecosystems:
- Set compulsory, minimum standards and clear guidelines for the regionalisation process.
- Set ambitious result-based targets that ensure the preservation of juveniles of target species, avoid unwanted species, and protect ecosystems.
- In order to protect juveniles, set minimum landing sizes and minimum conservation reference sizes on the length individuals reach at reproductive maturity.
- Restrict, spatially or temporally, certain fishing activities to protect essential fish habitats, juvenile aggregations and/or vulnerable habitats and species.