Fewer restrictions on cod fishing in the Baltic
Certain restrictions on how and where fishermen may fish in EU waters were removed by a vote on Wednesday. Small-scale fishermen will be able to catch Baltic cod in coastal areas during closed-season summer months thanks to the resolution drafted by Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (EPP, PL).
The Walesa report aims to ensure that Baltic Sea cod stocks can be exploited under sustainable economic, environmental and social conditions.
"Our proposal brings us closer to achieving sustainable fishing by including the target of maximum sustainable yield and provides benefits for fish stocks as well as addressing the needs of the fisheries sector", said Mr Wałęsa, whose resolution was adopted with 661 votes in favour, 7 against and 20 abstentions.
Statistics show that Baltic Sea cod stocks are gradually recovering. Mr Walesa argues that allowing coastal fishing in summer will not harm them, as cod spawn in deeper waters.
Deadlock on long-term fisheries plans: MEPs send strong signal to Council
MEPs decided, by 670 votes to 2 with 5 abstentions, to postpone for a second time their vote on the report by Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE, IE) on fishing rules in EU waters, so as to send a strong protest signal to the Council about EU member states blocking any progress in negotiating multi-annual fisheries management plans.
"There has to be respect by the Council for the European Parliament and there has not been during the last number of years. We may have no alternative but to block other reports which are in the pipeline", said Mr Gallagher, requesting the postponement on behalf of the Fisheries Committee.
This deadlock with the member states over multi-annual fisheries management plans is the result of a conflict over Parliament's powers as co-legislator for them. The Council wants to exclude Parliament from decision-making on certain key elements of these plans.
The Baltic cod proposal still needs a green light from member states, possibly after a second reading. However, as this is a multi-annual management plan, Fisheries Committee MEPs fear that the Council could halt the file due to the above dispute with Parliament over legislative powers.