Fisheries Committee MEPs backed a proposed ban on discarding unwanted fish of 35 species caught in the Skagerrak (between the North Sea and the Baltic) in a vote on Tuesday. The ban, to take effect gradually between 2014 and 2016, would be enforced with a remote electronic monitoring system.
Here is a summary of the priorities of Ireland's Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers, as presented by Irish ministers to European Parliament committees. These presentations were all made in the week of 21-25 January, except for agriculture (31 January).
The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) needs radical reform to cut fishing to sustainable stock levels, end discards, and use better long-term planning based on reliable scientific data, said Fisheries Committee MEPs on Tuesday. Overfishing is widely seen as the worst failure of the current CFP, dating from 2002. The new one is to take effect in 2014.
EU member states should stop issuing special permits to remove shark fins on board vessels, said Fisheries Committee MEPs on Wednesday. In a report on the external dimension of the common fisheries policy, MEPs urged that global efforts to combat illegal fishing be stepped up, and improvements made to agreements with third countries which allow EU vessels to fish in their waters.
Common fisheries policy reform must make fisheries sustainable, to ensure the survival of fishing fleets and coastal areas, says the Fisheries Committee in a non-binding resolution passed on Wednesday. Failing to manage EU stocks sustainably means that 75% of them are overfished, costing the EU about €1.8 billion a year, it adds.
A deal on new rules empowering the European Commission to ban EU imports of fish from overfished stocks and related species was unanimously endorsed by the Fisheries Committee on Wednesday. It was struck by MEPs and Council negotiators in response to massive overfishing of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
EU fishermen's organisations must be strengthened and better equipped to help promote sustainable fishing, reduce unwanted catches and combat illegal fishing, said the Fisheries Committee on Wednesday, in a vote on the first draft regulation in the common fisheries policy reform package.
The European Parliament should agree to extend the controversial EU-Morocco fisheries agreement, said the Fisheries Committee in an eagerly awaited vote on Tuesday. If approved by the whole House, the new protocol would provide fishing opportunities for 119 EU vessels and allocate special funds to support sustainable fisheries in Morocco until the end of February 2012.
The legislative proposal to reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is a good start, but the proposed rules on tradable fishing rights and regional decision-making need to be amended, Fisheries Committee MEPs told Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, who presented the proposals to them on Thursday.
Port state measures to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing should apply worldwide, said the Fisheries Committee MEPs on Tuesday, as it backed an agreement to this end sponsored by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). If Parliament as a whole backs committee's recommendation, the EU will become the third entity to ratify the agreement out of the 25 needed for it to enter into force.