Common fisheries policy reform must ensure that stocks are fished sustainably, so that fishing can continue, MEPs said in a resolution passed on Thursday. The policy must also do more to help fishermen, in recognition of the public goods provided by the industry, such as creating jobs for coastal communities and providing secure food supplies for EU citizens, they added.

Given that multi-annual plans are vital tools to preserve fish stocks, MEPs call on the Commission and the Council swiftly to resolve current deadlock among Member States over the long-term management plans, such as that for the western stock of Atlantic horse mackerel, which has been blocked in the Council since November 2010.

Long-term management plans should apply to as many fish stocks as possible and must be decided jointly by the Parliament and the Council, under the ordinary legislative procedure, MEPs said.

Promoting public goods produced by fisheries

MEPs underlined that sustainable, environmentally-friendly and properly-managed fisheries could make a greater contribution to achieving the EU2020 strategy goals and also to EU food security, employment and the maintenance of dynamic fishing communities.

Fishermen should be encouraged to use environmentally-friendly fishing practices by "positive discrimination" measures, such as giving them better access to EU funds. Parliament also asked the Commission to ensure that fishermen would be permitted to have other sources of income without being financially penalised.

The fisheries sector (including aquaculture) is estimated to generate €34.2 billion in annual earnings and sustains more than 350,000 jobs in the EU.

Procedure:  Non-legislative resolutions