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Debates
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

17. Baltic salmon stock and the fisheries exploiting that stock - Conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms - Removal of fins of sharks on board vessels - Small-scale and artisanal fisheries and CFP reform - External dimension of the common fisheries policy (debate)
Video of the speeches
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  President. – The next item is the joint debate on the following reports:

- A7-0239/2012 by Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, on behalf of the Committee on Fisheries, concerning the establishment of a multiannual plan for the Baltic salmon stock and the fisheries exploiting that stock [COM(2011)0470 - C7-0220/2011 - 2011/0206(COD)];

- A7-0342/2012 by Pat the Cope Gallagher, on behalf of the Committee on Fisheries, on the amendment of Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98 concerning the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1288/2009 [COM(2012)0298 - C7-0156/2012 - 2012/0158(COD)];

- A7-0295/2012 by Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, on behalf of the Committee on Fisheries, concerning amendment of Council Regulation (EC) No 1185/2003 on the removal of fins of sharks on board vessels [COM(2011)0798 - C7-0431/2011 - 2011/0364(COD)];

- A7-0291/2012 by João Ferreira, on behalf of the Committee on Fisheries, on small-scale coastal fishing, artisanal fishing and the reform of the common fisheries policy [2011/2292(INI)];

- A7-0290/2012 by Isabella Lövin, on behalf of the Committee on Fisheries, on the external dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy [COM(2011)0424 - - 2011/2318(INI)];

 
  
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  Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, rapporteur. (PL) Mr President, Commissioner, the multiannual plan for conserving Baltic salmon is a vital part of the management of marine resources in the context of the common fisheries policy reform. I must mention the role played by multiannual management plans and the impasse that has been reached with the Council, which is blocking their implementation. The proposal for a Regulation sets out comprehensive provisions for the protection of Baltic salmon, covering new areas and issues previously outside the scope of the common fisheries policy. I would like to stress that wide-ranging consultations have been held with stakeholders. Owing to time constraints, I shall concentrate on just a few.

One of the main issues covered in the report is recreational fishing, which, to date, has not been regulated, but which has a significant impact on the level of stocks. The lack of regulation has led to the uncontrolled development of recreational fishing in some countries; as a result of the introduction of specific names for the vessels involved, such as ‘service vessel’, it is not covered by controls, leading to an increase in unreported catches of Baltic salmon. In some cases, advanced fishing gear, such as towed nets, is used for recreational fishing. Member States have not complied with the obligation to provide relevant information about catches, meaning that the state of Baltic salmon stocks has not been correctly assessed.

The second issue not covered by existing provisions is the impact of predators on Baltic salmon stock. This is down to a lack of published material and reliable research describing the interrelation between predators and the level of salmon stock. The report indicates the type of research that should be carried out to determine this relationship and to make an accurate assessment of stock levels.

Another important issue is the reproduction of Baltic salmon. The salmon population is currently declining and the proposal to impose strict limits on stocking is not a good solution, as it could lead to a further reduction in stocks. We need to maintain flexibility with regard to stocking, which should be adjusted in accordance with the stock levels at any given time.

Mr President, Commissioner, the common fisheries policy has not had the best record to date – its implementation has been at the expense of the environment and fish stocks, along with fishermen and coastal communities. The multiannual plans for this species and, most importantly, the new common fisheries policy must provide a way out of the present, deeply unfavourable situation. It is only the only way to emerge from the crisis and should be accepted by the Commission, Council and Parliament. Only then we will come through this and be able to make changes.

I would now like to know whether the Council will allow us to continue under the ordinary legislative procedure, or whether the current obstacles it has placed in Parliament’s way in the form of individual agreements will remain standing. Unfortunately, we do not have the opportunity to put that question, as the Council has probably already taken that decision and is simply not here to give an answer.

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher, rapporteur. Technical conservation measures are rules which our fishermen throughout the Union must follow on a daily basis when undertaking a fishing expedition. The purpose of imposing these measures or rules on our fishermen is very simple: it is to lay down how and where fishing activity should be carried out and to ensure that it is done in a sustainable manner. Ultimately, these measures are designed to ensure that our fish stocks are exploited in a sustainable way and that the eco-systems in which the fish live are well maintained.

However, in order for these measures to work effectively and to deliver on stated objectives, these measures must be formulated and designed in tune with the evolving nature of fisheries management and, importantly, must be based on scientific advice.

Following my appointment as rapporteur by the Committee on Fisheries, I prepared my draft report under time constraints, bearing in mind that the Commission proposal was published in late June and the existing transitional measures expire on 31 December next. There were limited opportunities to fully debate the report in committee, which was unfortunate. I am therefore very grateful for the close collaboration and support I received from the shadow rapporteurs and, indeed, the entire committee.

The report approved by the committee on 10 October included several key changes which specifically amended poorly conceived – and I believe inappropriate – technical measures. These amendments are fully justified and supported by clear scientific advice.

I then received a mandate from the committee to negotiate with the Council Presidency. The trialogue negotiations concluded following an informal exchange when the trialogue went into recess. After the trialogue meeting, a misunderstanding developed concerning the agreement. The shadows met and a joint response by the shadows was sent to the Presidency, in which we outlined our red-lined, but reasonable, areas.

I am pleased that we now have an agreement in place which serves the best interests of our fishermen, coastal communities, sustainable fisheries and the consumer.

The majority of the amendments contained in the agreement relate to the ICES area VIa, which is located on the north-west coast of Scotland and the north-west coast of Ireland where, in 2009, a cod recovery plan was introduced. Regrettably, the measures for cod recovery have caused major difficulties for fishermen off the coast of my own country by stopping traditional fisheries which, although they do not target cod, have of course suffered as a result of this.

I would like to take this opportunity to outline several key aspects of the agreement. The agreement permits the use of gill nets and tangle nets south of 59° north within the defined area for cod recovery. The gear type is both eco-friendly and sustainable, and will not target cod in the defined area. This means that small inshore and island fishermen from the north-west will no longer have to steam 50 miles into treacherous Atlantic waters in small vessels. The fishermen will be able to target lesser spotted dogfish and haddock with gill and tangle nets within three miles of the coastline for ten days per month. Lesser spotted dogfish are not caught for human consumption, but can be used as bait for lobster and crab pots. The agreement removed the by-catch provision for haddock and whiting, which is causing a major discarding problem. It will now once again be possible to have targeted fishery for these three species.

The agreement also ensures that non-Irish boats will be prevented from fishing in the Greencastle Box, which is closed from October to March each year. I have a few other points to make but will take the opportunity to do so later in the debate.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, rapporteur. (PT) Mr President, Commissioner, this report is not about finning. Finning is an abominable practice involving catching sharks in order to remove their fins and discard the rest of their bodies, and has been prohibited in the European Union since 2003. The Commission proposal is to end the derogation from the ban, not on finning, but on the removal of fins on board, which is currently allowed under a special permit, with the vessel owner having to keep, offload and market all parts of the captured animal.

Vessel owners want to continue removing fins on board. Why? Once the fins have been removed, the fins and bodies can be stored separately, which saves space in the hold and allows the duration of each trip and the available fishing time to be increased. This therefore reduces the number of returns to port, which saves fuel and reduces polluting emissions. It also avoids the partial thawing of sharks on land in order to separate the fins from the bodies, which go to different markets, and their subsequent refreezing. This therefore preserves the quality of the fish, protects consumer health and maintains the value of the catch.

These were legitimate arguments in the Commission’s view in 2003. What has changed? Is it because the Commission has remembered to move forward with this initiative? Is it because the European fleet is practising finning? No! In 2005 and 2006 the Commission and Parliament confirmed that finning did not exist, and now, having been frequently urged to present evidence of finning, neither the Commission nor the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can do so.

At a workshop in May, the Shark Alliance representative publicly confirmed that the European fleet was not practising finning. So is it because the species that the European fleet catches are at risk? No! Around 90 % of the European catch is blue shark, which is a species with unparalleled biological productivity. The Commission has said that the reason is to end finning. It is therefore deliberately causing confusion in the minds of the public. At the same time, having been urged to justify this approach, the Commission has eventually said that it has suspicions, and it has the audacity to try and legislate based on suspicions.

Despite the aberration of this position and the serious precedent that it would set, I tried to table proposals responding to all the concerns raised. If there are suspicions that finning is occurring, then we need to reinforce controls. I proposed the obligation to simultaneously land fins and bodies at all ports and the hiring, by vessel owners, of an independent body to check landings at ports where there is no permanent control.

If the problem is the derogation, then we should limit it. I proposed that the derogation should apply only to freezer vessels, to the exclusion of wet fish vessels. If the concern is about shark stocks, then we should arrange to obtain scientific data. I proposed the bases for a shark action plan, with the obligation for the extensive collection of data on all species caught.

The Commission said no to everything.

Meanwhile, in its strange determination to move forward with this proposal, it has forgotten to assess the socioeconomic impacts. However, the sector has assessed these impacts, and estimates, on a conservative basis, that the Iberian fleet will suffer a loss of EUR 14 million per year.

The Commissioner’s proposal is unjustified and harmful. All my proposals fully respond to all the suspicions and concerns.

So why will these proposals not be unanimously adopted, and instead be rejected tomorrow by Parliament? Basically, I vehemently denounce the campaign of disinformation instigated by the Commission and actively pursued by the NGOs, which, in this specific case, have forgotten the nobility of their citizenship mission and have resorted to half-truths leading to false conclusions, explicit lies, and pressure via constant emails and circulars. They have also engaged in political terrorism, involving the persecutory identification of those who think differently and their personal defamation on social networks.

Pressure from the NGOs and lack of national interest in fishing will cause many MEPs to opt for the comfort vote. We will all end up losing in that case. On the eve of the common fisheries policy reform, which will inevitably lead to significant economic and social costs, the fleet will suffer further harm. The Commissioner is deluding herself, believing that reforms can be implemented against the sector, which sees her as a second Environment Commissioner and which sees itself as an orphan, fighting for the future using every available means. The NGOs that should be protecting sharks will lose out, because they will destroy the current excellent relationship between vessel owners and scientists, and they will prevent the extensive collection of data and an action plan for sharks. The MEPs who vote for comfort will increasingly become hostage to the NGOs. I am sorry for everyone.

 
  
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  João Ferreira, rapporteur. (PT) Mr President, Commissioner, this report on small-scale coastal fishing and artisanal fishing was needed for two reasons.

First, while it is generally agreed that the current common fisheries policy (CFP) has been a disaster, we cannot forget that this disaster is now being felt particularly keenly by the weakest segments of the fleet, by small-scale fishing and by the coastal communities that depend on this fishing.

Second, the European Commission’s proposals to reform the CFP not only fail to solve these problems, but contain new elements of concern and threats to the future of small-scale fishing.

On the one hand, this report has sought to suggest a comprehensive approach to the CFP reform which is more favourable to small-scale fishing, and to take better account of the latter’s problems and also its potential, so that it can be utilised as fully as possible.

On the other hand, it makes specific and wide-ranging proposals to support small-scale fishing. Please allow me to highlight certain points of the report and some of its proposals.

Defence of meaningful decentralisation of fisheries management. Local management putting an end to the centralised management that has prevailed over the last 30 years, with the results of which we are all aware. Rejection of a single management model for all Member States, such as transferable fishing concessions. Increased Community cofinancing for gathering, processing and distributing biological data. Defence of positive discrimination of sectors and operators that use more selective fishing techniques and gear with less impact on resources and the marine environment, and which bring more benefit to the communities of which they are part in terms of generating jobs and the quality of those jobs. Need for a financial instrument for the outermost regions, which retains the principle of greater support. Also, financing of actions by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. These actions should be in the following areas, among others: improving safety and working conditions on board, improving catch preservation, and making vessels more energy efficient; promoting young people’s increased involvement in the sector’s activities and keeping them involved; support for the construction of infrastructure, such as specialised fishing ports and specific facilities for the landing, storage and sale of fishery products; support for associations, organisations and cooperatives of the sector’s professionals; and enhancing women’s role in fishing and valuing activities carried out on land.

Further proposals include: creating support mechanisms for emergencies, such as natural or man-made disasters, fishing stoppages imposed by plans for restoring stocks, or sudden increases in fuel prices; introducing financial compensation during biological rest periods; possibility of areas reserved exclusively for small-scale fishing; defence of still-existing public market regulation instruments; defence of mechanisms enabling fair and adequate distribution of value added along the sector’s value chain.

These are some of the proposals in this report, and in fact some of the most important, for which I request your support. Some of them correct serious shortcomings in the Commission proposal. Pompous proclamations in defence of small-scale fishing are not enough. These proclamations need to be translated into concrete commitments of support for the measures needed to help solve the serious problems that are currently affecting small-scale coastal fishing and artisanal fishing.

 
  
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  Isabella Lövin, rapporteur. Mr President, as the rapporteur on the international dimension of the common fisheries policy reform, I am quite proud today to say that ‘we have actually done it’!

In the almost unanimous vote in the Committee on Fisheries, colleagues supported, and to a large extent improved, my draft report, so that it now clearly sets out the future principles for the EU external fishing fleet and how it can be sustainable in all its activities. It shows how the EU can become a leader by setting an example of responsible behaviour by a long-distance fishing nation, worldwide.

What we have achieved is quite remarkable. We reached a consensus that the EU should negotiate a fisheries agreement only where there is a clearly and scientifically proven surplus of fish that is not needed by local fishermen or people in the region. Of course, the fish stocks must also be in good condition. We agreed that the same rules – for instance, on discarding fish – should apply to EU vessels whether they are operating inside or outside the Union. We also agreed to introduce a human rights clause into fisheries agreements so that, if there is a serious violation of human rights in a third country, the protocols shall be suspended. We stated the need to decouple access fees from the money for so-called sectoral support in a clear way, so that poor countries should not be tempted to sell more fish in order to get more development aid.

Widespread support was also shown for the concept of regional agreements. The EU should not use its strength to negotiate agreements with countries in developing parts of the world one by one, but rather should encourage regional cooperation, which would lead to better management of fishery resources and transparency on total catches. We also recognise that the EU and its Member States have responsibilities in relation to the many private operators owned by EU interests, but often flying other flags, that are fishing all over the world. The committee also recognised our heavy responsibility as the greatest fish consumer market in the world, importing and eating 11 % of all the world’s catches in terms of volume.

I do not want to hide the fact that there is some controversial content in the report and that the biggest group in Parliament is still trying to get these things out of tomorrow’s vote – the anti-flag hopping clause, for example, the exclusivity clause and the statement that vessel owners should pay a considerable market-based share of the access fees.

I regret this and I really hope that those – even in the PPE Group – who want to see the EU leading by example on issues relating to environmental sustainability, fair trade and respect for human rights, will not try to delete the paragraphs in question. One paragraph that I would like to emphasise is paragraph 7, which is about greater coordination inside the Commission and among Member States. That is really necessary if we are to achieve policy coherence on development, in accordance with Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. We cannot have the EU negotiating a fisheries agreement and using development aid and trade agreements as a means of pressure to push through access to fishing grounds in developing countries.

I believe we have a great report here that can not only change the impact of the EU on the world’s oceans, but could also change how all distance-fishing nations behave. If we can show that the EU is willing to change, poor countries will have an easier time stipulating conditions for other distance-fishing nations. With this report we have started a race to the top in terms of good standards.

I want to thank all the shadow rapporteurs, the assistants and advisers who helped with the report. We have the promise here of a great success.

 
  
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  Maria Damanaki, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, first I would like to thank all rapporteurs for their reports and not only the rapporteurs of course, but also the shadow rapporteurs and the Committee on Fisheries as a whole. It is obvious that a lot of work has been done here on very important issues and I am very happy to see that the fisheries policy draws the attention of more and more Members of this House. I do not have the time unfortunately to refer to all the issues raised by the rapporteur, so let me focus on some points.

My first point concerns the multiannual plan for the Baltic salmon stock. Of course, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Gróbarczyk, and I would like to say that we welcome Parliament’s endorsement that this stock should be managed according to the principle of maximum sustainable yield. It seems very easy now to refer to maximum sustainable yield, but I would like to remind all of you that it was not like this years ago; we have made progress here and we have done this together. I also welcome the ideas mentioned by the rapporteur that would increase the protection of the stocks like higher smolt production targets in rivers. This is very, very encouraging and we have to work together to see this excellent work implemented.

With regard to the proposal on transitional technical measures: I would like to thank Mr Gallagher for his work but I would also like to underline that he has made a tremendous effort to make this agreement possible in time. This is very important considering the time constraints he had to face. I would like to say that the discontinuation of these measures (even temporarily) would have negative consequences for the conservation of some stocks and for vulnerable marine habitats, so I am very pleased that agreement was found on this proposal. Difficult and technical issues were handled by all of you and I think that we have achieved a high-level of conservation for these stocks.

Let me move now to the shark finning proposal; I think that we all agree – we have to agree, after all, because this is the reality – that we have to eradicate the horrendous practice of shark finning and protect sharks better. We need to do that one way or another, but we really need to do that. Our current rules allow shark fins to be removed on board and these rules are very difficult to control in practice. We cannot have a civil servant on every boat; this is impossible. Even if we wanted it, it would be impossible. So these rules do not provide sufficient safeguards to avoid the removal of fins and carcasses being discarded. I believe that rules that cannot be controlled in practice are just not good enough. It is therefore essential that all sharks are landed with their fins still attached, without any derogations.

I would like to remind you that many important shark fishing nations have already adopted fins-attached laws. We are not the first here. We are the followers rather, and their fishermen, the other nations’ fishermen, have shown that this is possible, while remaining profitable. So we can also do it. Some European fleets have also voluntarily adopted a fins-attached practice without complaining about additional costs. Regional Fisheries Management Organisations are also moving towards fins-attached rules. So there is a general tendency here. I hope that this House will support the Commission to close any remaining loopholes in the rules.

Let me now say a few words on a very important own-initiative report: the report about small-scale fisheries. Small-scale fisheries are extremely important in Union fisheries. I do not have the time to refer to figures but they are in the report one way or another. So I would like just to say that over three out of four European vessels are small-scale coastal vessels, generating jobs and income, and contributing to the social fabric of our coastal communities. So it is not only about money, it is also about the real life of coastal areas.

Small-scale fisheries are also likely to benefit the most from a reformed fisheries policy based on a clear and time-bound obligation to manage stocks at maximum sustainable levels and to eliminate discards. Why? Because these small-scale fisheries are the most vulnerable segments of our fisheries industry and if the fish are in good health, then the small-scale fisheries can take advantage of it. They are also likely to benefit from the introduction of fish stock recovery areas in territorial waters. I am therefore looking favourably at the idea of fish stock recovery areas as a conservation tool. Small-scale fisheries can also take advantage of these, too.

Our reform proposals place a special emphasis on small-scale fleets: we relieve small vessels from administrative and unnecessary financial burden; we differentiate fleet capacity management; we provide specific support from our new financial instrument. I would like to thank Mr Ferreira for his report, which highlights many important elements and I would like to say that some of these elements are already there in our reform proposal, for example the better funding, for example, the market rules. Very important for small-scale fisheries.

I am grateful for your constructive contributions on the role of small-scale fishing in the future policy and I would like to underline that I really am trying, the Commission is trying, to change the pattern here and really help small vessels.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to congratulate Mrs Lövin for her report on the external dimension of the common fisheries policy. This is a very important issue. This is a part of the reform we are trying to introduce and I can say also that I am really proud that Parliament and the Fisheries Committee, and almost all of you, have supported it.

This report is also important because it looks beyond the common fisheries policy into other policies, other areas that have an important impact on the sustainable management of international fisheries resources, such as trade and foreign policy. So, here about trade and foreign policy, there is a lot of work to be done with other services, with other committees, and I am very happy that we have gone through it.

I am very pleased that Parliament shows broad support for bold external action for sustainable fisheries management worldwide. This will improve our standing as an important fishing and market entity for sound and efficient fisheries management. We need this worldwide image. European fisheries policy needs this new image. It will also strengthen our position in negotiations with third parties to move forward the sustainability agenda and the global fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

As you know, last week, the Commission initiated a procedure against eight countries for failing to address illegal fishing. I would like to thank Parliament for its support on this file. So we have to move to the international handling of this very important issue and we need the credentials, let me put it this way, we need the credentials of a new international aspect in our fisheries policy to do so.

I also welcome that the report endorses the need for bilateral agreements; this is very important. We need the bilateral agreements and we need a new generation of new bilateral agreements that would lead to a stable and transparent framework for both our partners and our industry. In particular, I appreciate that Parliament supports our proposal that the European fishing industry should take over a more important financial share of the costs when acquiring access rights to non-EU fishing zones.

I would like once again to thank all the rapporteurs and the speakers for their contributions.

 
  
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  Andrea Zanoni, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Commissioner, let us stop ‘finning’! We must put a stop to indiscriminate capture of sharks in order to remove their precious and much sought-after fins before throwing the huge shark bodies back into the sea. There must be an end to exemptions for special permits. This is what Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety has asked for in its opinion, on which I acted as rapporteur, which despite some opposition from the Committee on Fisheries, will be approved in full by this House tomorrow.

The European Union, in line with the view of the scientific world, decided to outlaw finning in 2003, but the exemptions allowed by the current legislation make it impossible to combat a phenomenon that poses a serious threat to the survival of this particularly vulnerable species. There is no other way to go: only by making it mandatory for fins to be landed still naturally attached to the body can a simple and effective control of the ban on on-board finning be achieved. Encouraging conservation of shark stocks will bring about genuinely sustainable fishing. I therefore call on Parliament to support the proposal.

 
  
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  Carl Schlyter, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. − (SV) Mr President, salmon are threatened, and the main threats to salmon are fishing and hydroelectric power. It is not seals and cormorants that eat up the majority of salmon.

It is important and I am pleased that the Committee on Fisheries has approved many of the proposals by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, particularly with regard to the 80 % target for reproduction capacity and more stringent, earlier regulation of recreational fishing, subsistence fishing and sport fishing, because these account for a significant proportion of the catches.

It will also be good for us to have an improved reporting system in general, but what I think is missing from the report by the Fisheries Committee is what we approved on the Environment Committee, namely to stop sea fishing, because it is not selective. It can happen that the few wild salmon required, which must go back to the area where they have to spawn, can be caught by accident, so the threat is serious.

Otherwise, I welcome the motion. This could be the start of the salmon’s return to recovery, and it is not only good for the environment; it is an economic gain for many interested parties in society and it generates thousands of jobs.

More fish mean more jobs and money.

 
  
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  Ana Miranda, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development. (PT) Mr President, Commissioner, as rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development, I gather that you agree that artisanal fishing, coastal fishing, shellfishing and extensive aquaculture are the forms of fishing that are sustainable from a social, economic and environmental perspective. I likewise agree with your idea that small-scale fishing is in a precarious situation.

I come from a shellfishing country, from a fishing nation, which is therefore extremely vulnerable and must be specifically protected. We also need a new definition of artisanal fishing as the current definition is archaic. The reform of the common fisheries policy should not be at the cost of artisanal fishermen, shellfishers and net-makers.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, I have drafted an opinion for Mr Ferreira’s report on small-scale and artisanal fisheries. There are still too many legal and social obstacles preventing women’s full participation at all levels in the fisheries sector. Women work on fishing boats and are involved at all levels of the production chain: in fish capture, in breeding and harvesting in aquaculture, and in processing and placing on the market; they are boat-owners; they organise fishing activities and provide support to the fishermen at sea.

The work of women in the fisheries sector needs to be made more visible, especially in the artisanal sector, since 85 % of women active in this sector feel they are discriminated against. This is seen as an exclusively male sector: there are obstacles to women’s advancement and the support structures available are inadequate.

I am pleased that Mr Ferreira has given due attention to this opinion and that Mr Damanaki has underlined the importance of cooperation between the Committee on Fisheries and the other parliamentary committees. I would therefore like to underline some of the priority actions to be taken at EU and Member State level. What is most important is the protection of the legal and social status of women working in the sector so as to ensure equal wages, in other words safeguarding social and economic rights. Above all insurance must be provided for covering risks at sea. Much has been done, but much more can be done.

 
  
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  Gabriel Mato Adrover, on behalf of the PPE Group. (ES) Mr President, Commissioner, these are tough times for the European fisheries sector. The serious economic crisis that is devastating Europe, the scarcity of marine resources needed to allow the fleets to be economically viable and the negotiations on agreements that are often unacceptable because of their detrimental interests, mean that the sector is looking towards the future with some concern. If we add to that the shameful obstruction of the multiannual plans by the Council, which is also seeking pretexts for reneging on the Treaty itself – something that we absolutely will not stand for – we end up with a panorama that is pretty bleak.

We are discussing different aspects of great importance, including the external dimension of the common fisheries policy, which enables the EU fleet to fish in the high seas and in third-country waters, and through which the European Union also exports principles of good governance, leading the fight for sustainability, ensuring food security in the least-developed countries and eradicating illegal fishing.

In all, 60 % of the fish consumed in the European Union comes from third-country imports and, as a consequence, one of the objectives of the external dimension of this policy must be to ensure the continuity of the economically viable high-sea fishing.

We do not agree that the fisheries agreements should entail an exclusivity clause that prevents the European fleet from fishing in third-country waters when the European Union has failed to conclude a new protocol and we have several examples of that.

Nor do we agree that there should be penalties for the temporary reflagging of EU vessels when they change their flag so that they can access third-country waters – even if those countries comply with all of the international regulations – where no agreement on access to resources has been reached. Similarly, we do not agree with the fact that the fishing authorisation fees that shipowners have to pay to access the fishery resources of a third country can triple on occasion without a cost-benefit analysis having been carried out.

In my opinion, it is pointless to propose keeping fish stocks above, rather than at, maximum sustainable yield, as this would reduce fishing opportunities by more than is necessary. For these and other reasons, our group has tabled an alternative motion for a resolution, which, in our opinion, improves the rapporteur’s proposal.

In conclusion, Commissioner – and I see that the Council is absent once again – fisheries is such an important sector that it is crucial for the three institutions to be able to reach agreement and work towards the same goal. Parliament certainly will.

 
  
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  Ole Christensen, on behalf of the S&D Group. (DA) Mr President, on the whole I am very satisfied indeed with the broad agreement in which this report has resulted. It is a big step towards more careful, sustainable fisheries. The report is expressive of the fact that a large majority of the Committee supports long-overdue improved checks on salmon fishing in the Baltic Sea. With this report, we are supporting the Commission’s proposal to manage all salmon fishing, including recreational and non-commercial fishing. We are doing this because a lack of control over this type of fishery has contributed to the fact that salmon has been over-fished.

There have been some critics throughout the negotiation process who think that the implementation of a broad control like this is too comprehensive. I do not think it is. We must, of course, be aware of it, but I think that, in collaboration with the business community, recreational fishermen, the Commission and the Member States, we can find some intelligent solutions. For example, there is a whole new world of smartphones and internet-based reporting.

Illegal salmon fishing is a very big problem, and it will only be stopped if the Member States take the controls seriously and the business community does not cheat. Those who cheat must take responsibility so that there is no cheating with the labelling of trout and salmon. It undermines the whole endeavour to re-establish the salmon stocks.

It must be said that the report is a long-awaited one, and I will therefore urge the Council to enter into constructive negotiations on this so that we can achieve the necessary management of all salmon fishing.

 
  
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  Chris Davies, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, I wonder who it was who first stood over a shark on the deck of their vessel and stuck a knife deep into it and hacked off its fin, cutting deeply into it, and then told his colleagues to help him throw it overboard back into the sea, where it could swim, sink and starve or just bleed to death. Fishing is an inherently cruel activity I suppose but, even by its standards, shark finning is an unpleasant practice.

We thought we had dealt with the problem of shark finning some years ago, but of course we left loopholes, and now the Commission has come back and is closing those loopholes, and I hope we will end it once and for all. But that should be seen as a first step, because we know from the figures that shark species across the planet have experienced massive declines in the last few years. This is a creature that has been on the planet for hundreds of millions of years – longer than mankind. I would be very sorry if we saw the elimination of entire species during the course of our own lifetimes.

I will just turn to the issue of small-scale fisheries. We know that small-scale fisheries, by and large, generally employ more people in the fishing sector as a whole than the large-scale fishing that generates so much income. We also know that, by and large, it causes the least environmental damage. Yet on numerous occasions I hear people in my own country and elsewhere saying that it is all the fault of Brussels, and that we should be helping small-scale fishermen, giving them a bigger share of the catch and not penalising them. They ask why we are being so bad and so cruel to the small-scale fisherman. Yet, of course, it is not Brussels, and it is not the Commission. The Commission – the European Union – shares out the fishing opportunities to Member States. It is the Member States that decide whether the big vessels or the small vessels get it. Maybe some of the critics should spend less time criticising Brussels and more time criticising their own national capitals.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. (ES) Mr President, sharks have been in our seas and oceans for more than 400 million years, but that may change because 100 million sharks are slaughtered every year for their fins.

The worst part of all this is the removal of fins, or finning, a cruel practice indeed, which is thus banned almost everywhere in the world, including the European Union.

However, the existing European Regulation contains a number of gaps that needed to be filled. This was a necessary, reasonable and, a priori, simple process. It involved requiring all sharks to be landed with their fins naturally attached to their body.

It has taken a great deal of effort to get to this point, too much effort, in fact, and I really do not understand why; nor do thousands of citizens. When the European Commission did the only sensible thing it could and did away with all of the exemptions and special permits that benefited the Spanish and Portuguese fleets in particular, our role, as Parliament, should have been simply to support and welcome that proposal. However, we have instead spent months debating and, as a result, have prolonged the suffering of sharks.

I hope that we sort this mess out tomorrow, as requested by various organisations, including Shark Alliance, Oceana and Humane Society International.

 
  
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  Struan Stevenson, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, let me first of all congratulate Mr Ferreira on his important report on the small-scale fleet because not only is the artisanal fleet in EU waters by far the largest sector, representing over 80 % of the EU fleet by vessel number, with tens of thousands of fishermen, supporting thousands of coastal communities across the EU, but it is also a low impact sustainable fishery, matching all of the criteria that we are demanding as legislators.

But the livelihoods of our artisanal fishermen are under threat. Changing marine ecosystems, fishing pressure from the larger, over ten-metre, vessels and human pressure on coastal areas are all contributing to a downward spiral for local fishermen, who for centuries have supplied fresh, high-quality, diverse, locally caught fish and shellfish to the market. We have an opportunity within the current CFP reform to correct this negative trend. Ever since the CFP was first introduced, there has been discrimination against the artisanal sector. The majority of fishing quotas have been allocated to large-scale fishing operations across the EU, leading to the situation where over 60 % of fish stocks in European waters are now fished beyond sustainable limits.

Now of course we need to support the large-scale fleet because we are only 40 % self-sufficient in marine produce in Europe and we are increasingly dependent on imports of fish products from countries outside the EU, but the artisanal fleet have a key role to play in all of this. One of our core objectives must be to grant the right to fish to those who fish sustainably. That means reducing overcapacity, ending harmful subsidies and destructive practices, and restoring our seas to full health.

These should be our guiding principles throughout the discussions on the CFP reform.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos, on behalf of the EFD Group. (EL) Mr President, I would like to say a word of praise for the rapporteurs’ work. I wholeheartedly endorse their concerns and also the proposals they set out in their reports. I also commend the work of the Commissioner, Ms Damanaki, who stood by the Committee on Fisheries throughout its work. As time is limited, I shall focus on the report by Mr Ferreira on the very important role of small-scale fishing.

The discussion of this report comes at a crucial time, because we are now laying down the common fisheries policy which will form the basis for fisheries over the next ten years. Small-scale fishing requires special attention and management, both under the common fisheries policy and in terms of adequate funding from the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Small-scale fisheries employ 80 % of the fishing fleet in the European Union. Artisanal fishing, because of its structural weaknesses, is more exposed to external shocks. The economic crisis, the rise in the price of oil, market dysfunctions and obstacles to the flow of the product are some of the problems affecting the sector which must be solved by best practice. The rapporteur’s proposals are quite positive. However, the main problem, as representatives of the sector emphasise, is the problem of overfishing of stock: 80 % of the fish stock in the Mediterranean is being over-fished without adequate care taken to regenerate it, and the Mediterranean Fisheries Regulation is being infringed every day. I believe the supervision of enforcement and Member States’ compliance with the existing legislation is a key issue. The future of fisheries in Europe lies in coastal fishing activity, which is sustainable, has low impact on the marine environment, and is a lever for growth and job creation in Europe. The small-scale fishing sector has huge advantages which must be exploited.

 
  
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  João Ferreira, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. (PT) Mr President, I must speak briefly on the external dimension of the common fisheries policy (CFP). In my final speech I will have the opportunity to return to small-scale fishing and will, at that point, give Mr Davies a piece of news, which is that the management of marine living resources is an exclusive competence of the European Union. It is not even a competence shared with the Member States. However, I will return to that.

As regards the external dimension of the CFP, the current policy also needs substantial changes to its external aspect. Far-reaching amendments are needed in the current fisheries agreements with third countries. The rapporteur has suggested some of these amendments, which we appreciate. Many of the objectives of the fisheries partnership agreements have not been achieved. These agreements have in general boiled down to the transfer of funds to developing countries and exchanges in the exploitation of their fish resources. This is a restrictive view, which we deplore and which is contrary to the spirit and objectives of these agreements. Fisheries cooperation should promote, in the medium term, the exploitation by developing countries of their own resources, both for internal consumption and for export, thus increasing the proportion of the wealth generated that remains in the country.

We would underline once again the importance of drawing up frameworks with goals, actions and indicators allowing the application of fisheries agreements to be monitored in a spirit of partnership. This monitoring should include the adoption of corrective procedures, to be coordinated with the third country whenever a failure to meet the set objectives is discovered.

I must say one final word on the proposal for a regulation on technical measures. In this respect, I want to thank the rapporteur for his readiness to accept the amendment that we tabled. The original regulation provided for grievous measures that would have discriminated against the Portuguese anglerfish fleet and that lacked any scientific basis. We therefore appreciate the fact that this amendment could be made.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). – Mr President, this joint debate covers four important components of fisheries policy, and at the outset I would like to applaud the rapporteurs for their hard work in moving these matters through the Committee on Fisheries.

The new common fisheries policy – when it arrives – will have a bearing on every one of the subjects. A discard ban, maximum sustainable yield and regionalisation are all issues that have come to the fore as the reform has progressed. Coming from Northern Ireland, I want to highlight the importance of the small-scale fleet and the work that the rapporteur has done on this particular report.

However, I want to pose what is for me a very important question for the Commissioner and for colleagues here tonight. I want to focus on an aspect of the reform that I think is absolutely pivotal to a successful reform, and that is the issue of regionalisation. We all agree that regionalisation is important. It is important for streamlining bureaucracy and management, the more efficient protection of fish stocks, and the working together of the scientific community and the catching sector, be it in the Baltic Sea, with shark finning or with queen scallop fishing, as in Mr Gallagher’s report.

What I would like to see is this Parliament reflecting, in the weeks ahead, on what it really wants from EU fisheries policy. It seems to me that there is a tendency for us to simply want to secure a power base for various EU institutions, rather than what I would like to see as a pragmatic approach to fisheries policy that will benefit fish stocks, those who depend upon them in the catching sector and those who depend upon them for food and sustenance.

 
  
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  Werner Kuhn (PPE). (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, as the rapporteur for the situation of wild salmon in the Baltic, I would like to focus on this specific part of our debate.

The stock is indeed in a parlous state. The reduction in the fishing quota, which has been undertaken by scientists together with the Regional Advisory Council (RAC) according to a specific formula, is drastic, amounting to almost 80 %. This fishing quota is no longer stated in tonnes but in individual units. When we discuss the fishing mortality rate, we must of course consider all the relevant aspects. It is essential to include tourist and leisure fishing catches of Baltic salmon and subject to them to the same controls as professional fishing. That is beyond question. If we intend to introduce logbooks for all fishing vessels of more than 12 metres in length, this must also apply across the board.

Baltic salmon, whose main habitat is found in the Gulf of Bothnia and the central basin of the Baltic Sea, must of course also be able to reach its spawning areas. To that end, it must migrate upstream, along the rivers, mainly in Sweden. Before it reaches the mouth of the river, it must evade its natural enemies. These are the seals, the grey seals, large numbers of which lie in wait for their prey. Any salmon that survives then swims upstream, but here, there are the sports anglers and the recreational fishermen and then the hydropower plants which have already been mentioned. Only then do they reach their spawning areas.

We must keep all of this in mind, for this is part of a sustainable fishery. We must also adopt countermeasures and a management plan in order to replenish the stocks with higher smolt production, for salmon is not only a culinary delicacy; it is also a species which must survive. We want to see it surviving in the Baltic.

MSY means ‘maximum sustainable yield’, and based on the scientific findings and together with the RAC, this is already being practised. However, all the relevant stakeholders should participate in the Regional Advisory Councils, and that includes the NGOs. The North Sea Regional Advisory Council visited us recently and informed us that the NGOs have never once attended one of their meetings. I urge them to participate and to contribute to the development of our Common Fisheries Policy, which is a major responsibility for us as Europeans.

 
  
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  Kriton Arsenis (S&D). – Mr President, I would first like to refer to the issue of the external dimension in Ms Lövin’s report. I am very sad at what is happening in Parliament concerning this issue. The report was adopted in committee with 24 votes in favour and 1 against. Nevertheless, I am afraid that the PPE Group has decided that no other political group should be given reports of this kind. I cannot otherwise understand why, in order to delete three lines of this report, it is tabling an alternative report instead of just asking for a split vote. Mr Mato Adrover is a good chair of the Committee on Fisheries, and I would ask him to have a rethink, because a chair cannot go against a 24-1 majority in his committee.

On the issue of shark finning, I am confident that tomorrow a great majority within this Parliament will vote in favour of sharks being landed with their fins naturally attached. We will close the loopholes in the legislation. I am confident that the majority in Parliament tomorrow will honestly ban shark finning across the EU.

 
  
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  Nils Torvalds (ALDE). (SV) Mr President, tonight we are discussing several important reports. I would like to start with my own home waters, the Baltic Sea, and the management plan for Baltic Sea salmon.

Firstly, the report gives us minimum dimensions for salmon and sea trout. Hopefully, this will effectively close the loopholes that have been found and which have made it possible to fish for salmon in excess of the quotas and enter the catch as sea trout instead of salmon.

Secondly, we want the existing compensatory restocking to be phased out in the long term, by producing an inventory of rivers and a management plan with regard to how the local salmon population can be restored.

Thirdly, with the help of actively involved professional fishermen, sport fishermen and nature-conservation organisations, we will ensure that there is greater practical knowledge involved in this context, from the Baltic Sea fisheries policy to the external dimension of this report. I have three points to add.

Firstly, it is important that we create a fair system of rules and put a stop to the systematic change of flags that we see today. The fishing boats that switch their flags from the EU to countries that offer flags of convenience must not be allowed back onto the EU register so that they can subsequently receive financial subsidies

Secondly, the EU will not be able to drive developing countries out of the market, and thirdly, it is important that we streamline our aid policy and trade policy.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, tomorrow I will be voting to strengthen the ban on shark finning and to firmly close such loopholes as still exist, for all the reasons that the Commissioner outlined in her comments. Tomorrow I will be voting in favour of the External Dimension Report by my Group colleague, Ms Lövin, which is extremely well focused on that subject. Tomorrow I will also be supporting the Gallagher and Ferreira reports, both of which draw particular attention to lessons we can learn as we grapple with the reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP).

The Gallagher report deals with some highly complex technical measures which have been of great frustration to fishers in Scotland and Ireland, amongst other places – a great frustration because technical measures have been in place which have had inappropriate catch-composition rules for too long, and instead of conserving resources have actually directly caused massive discards of haddock. I am glad that at last we are finding a way, hopefully, to get out of that ridiculous situation. The point here which is relevant to CFP reform is that decisions on the detail of technical measures are surely best made by the fishing nations themselves, through decentralised decision-making. I hope that will be taken on board in a new CFP.

Mr Ferreira rightly points out that there are very diverse ranges of types of fishery – types of boats, types of geography, types of catches – and therefore that centralised control is not the best way to manage these resources for the benefit of consumers and communities. Again, I hope that decentralisation, rather than such things as mandatory closed areas, will be the way forward.

 
  
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  Anna Rosbach (ECR). (DA) Mr President, Commissioner, since we have five reports before us, I would like tonight to focus on the removal of shark fins, as have a large number of my colleagues.

One of the key principles of the fisheries reform is that we must stop discarding fish. This principle must naturally also apply to sharks. If sharks must be caught at all, the whole animal must be landed. This means that fins must not be removed from the body at sea, as others have said today, and I suppose that shark meat can of course be used for many things, including animal feed, fish meal and many other things. The legislation is too weak on this point. It is therefore good that the Commission wants to close the loopholes in the law. Thank you, Commissioner!

The Council will support the motion, and naturally so should we. It would be unbelievably irritating if Parliament chose to drag the motion in the wrong direction. We must do something completely right for once. The aim of the amendment is, among other things, to stop sharks from being mistreated. We must not catch sharks for the sake of their fins any more than we must kill elephants for the sake of their tusks.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD). – Mr President, shark finning is an appalling practice that has been allowed to continue, despite a ban in 2003, through loopholes and special provisions.

While the UK has outlawed shark finning, special fishing permits are still being granted by some Member States. As a result, Europe ranks second in the world as a producer of shark products, after Indonesia. Spain issued 1 266 permits between 2004 and 2010, and Portugal 145.

Shark fins are the most valuable part of the catch and can reach up to USD 90 per kilo in Asia. As a result, fishermen hack the fins from the sharks to bypass landing the catch at one port, making controls impossible to enforce and enabling this lucrative trade to continue unrestricted.

In Wales, the fleet of almost 500 boats operating off the coastline is largely Spanish-owned and exports 90 % of its catch to China and Japan. Despite a UK blanket ban, there is nothing we can do to prevent shark finning happening on foreign vessels just off our shores.

I stand by the belief that fishing rights should be controlled by domestic governments, but in the meantime, by pushing for an amendment stating that the fin must be attached to the shark in a natural way on landing, we can work to ensure the abatement of this cruel and wasteful practice.

 
  
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  Younous Omarjee (GUE/NGL). (FR) Mr President, I unreservedly support the Commission’s proposals on finning.

I come from the island of Réunion, where sharks do not get good press because of repeated attacks on surfers. However, I am aware that a shark thrown back into the sea is a dead shark. I am aware that the barbaric practice of finning has resulted in overfishing and that the European fleets are not innocent in all of this. Finally, I am aware that 73 species of shark are endangered and that they play an essential role in the food chain. As we have heard, sharks have been swimming in the oceans for almost 400 million years – 140 million years before the dinosaurs – and they even help to generate the oxygen that we breathe.

Therefore we, humans, cannot be the species that sacrifices another species for economic interests and for the pleasure of eating a soup in Asia, soup that is not even good.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI). (DE) Mr President, I too would like to comment on the shark issue. The rapporteur states in the report, quite rightly, that finning is unacceptable on social, economic and moral grounds. However, her attempt to defend the exemptions to the ban on onboard finning does not stand up to scrutiny. Exemptions are always problematical. They can be easily circumvented, as we know, and are difficult to monitor. Only a total ban on finning, as proposed by the Commission, can offer a remedy here and genuinely provide better protection for these creatures.

The meeting of the Washington Convention will also be important for the protection of sharks. If the European Union is successful, on that occasion, in overcoming the blockade organised by or oriented towards Japan, I think this will be a major step forward in protecting shark populations. It is also essential to focus on consumers. Thanks to various campaigns in Hong Kong, which handles around 50 % of the world trade in shark fin, attitudes are starting to change and some restaurants and hotels are no longer serving shark fin. In my view, that is a good sign. There are also encouraging signs from Beijing, where one Member of Parliament is lobbying to ensure that shark is no longer served at official banquets. At least 95 % of shark fin is, after all, consumed in China.

By establishing clear rules for Europe, the EU can also intensify its efforts and lobby convincingly for a ban on finning at the international level as well, for that is important.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE). (FR) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to begin by thanking the rapporteurs.

I am particularly pleased with the proposals in the Ferreira report, which are for the most part similar to my own. European fishing has a future and the common fisheries policy must support the investment in the sector. Fleet modernisation and renewal are essential to guarantee the competitiveness and sustainability of our fishing model.

The European fleet has an average age of 27, which causes significant problems in terms of environmental protection and safety on board. We must attend to this problem as a matter of urgency. What we must not do, of course, is increase the fishing capacity or the fishing effort, and I would stress that point.

We must renew the fleet at a constant capacity, or even a lower capacity, if necessary. We will, of course, have to lay down precise criteria for this renewal. That is why I am proposing giving the Commission the power to adopt delegated acts on these criteria.

Commissioner, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my firm opposition to transferable fishing concessions (TFC). This is a dangerous mechanism that would inevitably lead to the dismantling of our fishing model. However, we do need a fleet capacity management instrument because the capacity ceilings imposed on the Member States in the basic Regulation are inadequate.

Commissioner, you often ask me what I would propose instead of TFCs, and I will try to answer your question. As part of my report on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), I will soon table an amendment aimed at ensuring that Member States respect their capacity ceilings through ex-post conditionality. If a Member State does not respect its capacity ceiling after three years, the Commission would be able to suspend EMFF commitments and payments for that country.

It is up to the Member States to measure and control their capacity, with all of the rigour this requires. In the future, they will have to face the consequences of any failings in this regard. I have no doubt, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, that you will support this proposal.

 
  
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  Isabelle Thomas (S&D). (FR) Mr President, Commissioner, the debates on fisheries at this part-session each herald, in their own way, part of the structure of the future common fisheries policy.

As architects of this policy, we must always bear in mind that each pillar of sustainable development affects the balance and solidity of that structure. In other words, the fisheries policy must at the same time be economically viable, safeguard jobs and preserve resources.

These five reports put the main objectives of the future CAP to the test: maximum sustainable yield, reducing rejects and allocating fishing rights. These objectives cannot be mere slogans, however. Consequently, the technical measures in the Gallagher report, despite being only transitional, highlight the difficulties involved in moving to practical cases, fishery by fishery, stock by stock.

The Ferreira report on artisanal fishing rightly recognises that there is not one criterion, but a range of criteria, for defining artisanal fishing. The Gróbarczyk report highlights the lack of data. The Lövin report on the external dimension points out that we are evolving in a global context and looks at the conditions for the exploitation of resources outside European waters as well as the import conditions to ensure fair trade. We cannot allow the restrictions imposed on our fishermen to continue without balancing them with import restrictions to prevent unfair competition. Finally, the Patrão Neves report on sharks emphasises, in particular, the urgent need for stronger EU controls.

The success of an ambition cannot just be declared: it requires patient, meticulous work between goals and resources. That is what we are trying to do.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE). (ES) Mr President, European fishermen put all of their exertion and efforts into a form of work and processing that promotes good practices in all seas around the world. We must therefore ensure that unregulated fishing is bad business.

That means that all of the fish that we consume in Europe must meet the same standards as those that apply to our fishermen and producers. Moreover, our fisheries workers need to play a more active role in the negotiations on fisheries agreements. There must be greater controls to ensure that our contributions in third countries encourage industries with our values and practices. We also need a coherent and pragmatic European strategy, to ensure that predatory fleets do not fill the gaps we leave behind when certain fisheries agreements expire.

I therefore support the proposals on the external dimension of the common fisheries policy, but I also believe that there must be room in it for coastal and artisanal fishing, which is most integrated into its natural and social ecosystem. That sector offers high-quality products and should reap the benefits of its work at sea and on land.

There are a number of basic conditions for maintaining the population and fishing activities in many coastal areas, including a flexible and realistic definition of artisanal fishing, a stronger role for the regions, and greater social awareness to enable recognition of work-related diseases affecting women working in auxiliary jobs.

 
  
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  Jean-Paul Besset (Verts/ALE). (FR) Mr President, I will use the brief time I have available to express my group’s support for the report by Mr Ferreira. In our opinion, it has at least two advantages.

Firstly, it focuses on a vital fishing sector that is often overlooked and sacrificed: small-scale, artisanal and coastal fishing, which is the sector in which most European vessels and fishermen operate.

Secondly, this report puts the problem of small-scale fishing at the heart of the reform of the common fisheries policy. If, as we hope, the new fisheries policy is based on sustainable fishing criteria, the interests of artisanal fishermen will be guaranteed and consolidated.

We will only be able to ensure the future of thousands of small-scale fishermen, and with them the global food supply to which they make a vital contribution, if we have a fisheries policy that is firmly focused on conserving marine resources, and protecting and renewing stocks.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). – Mr President, I am also going to use my minute to address the issue of shark finning, at the risk of repetition.

It is imperative that we use this opportunity to close the remaining loopholes in this regulation and ensure that the cruel and wasteful practice of finning is completely eradicated. Ensuring that all sharks caught in EU waters by EU vessels are landed with their fins naturally attached is by far the simplest way to ensure this enforcement.

In the UK, we have already taken steps to ensure that the wasteful practice of shark finning at sea cannot take place on UK-registered vessels, and we have been joined by many other countries around the world. It is time the EU enshrined this, for all vessels under EU flags.

‘No derogations’ is the best way to ensure a complete end to this wasteful practice. ‘Fins naturally attached’ improves and simplifies enforcement and compliance-monitoring and reduces the risk of the regulation being circumvented.

I have heard no robust, convincing evidence that there is any reason to do anything other than vote in that direction.

 
  
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  Antonello Antinoro (PPE). (IT) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank the rapporteurs of the report we are voting tomorrow. I agree fully with what I have heard from all in the House on the practice of ‘finning’. In congratulating Mr Ferreira on his work, I would like to add some comments on artisanal fishery.

The last common fisheries policy only increased the separation between the institutions regulating fishing and those directly participating in the activity, in other words fishermen. However, to date in Europe the absence of a real definition of artisanal fishing has worked against those who have always seen fishing as an activity rooted in the tradition of a specific place, its waters and its cuisine. This has led to the growing conviction that the line taken by the European Commission intends to make all European fishing conform to a large-scale industrial model, following only market logic and not listening to the arguments of thousands of fishermen who for two decades have been working according to rules for protecting the ecosystem, which I can only agree with, but which have done nothing to preserve the microeconomic working practices of artisanal fishing.

This report sends a strong signal to the Commission, which should take practical steps to protect the fishing micro-economy. The report in fact underlines a series of benefits, such as for example an allocation to small-scale fishing from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Access to funds should favour projects offering integrated solutions that benefit coastal communities as a whole. Promotion of young people’s increased involvement in the sector’s activities is also essential; the committee has often discussed this question since otherwise, fishing will risk dying out not only due to lack of fishing areas and fish stocks, but also because young people will no longer become involved in the sector. This report represents the opportunity to provide training and incentives to those who are considering this sector as a career

 
  
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  Iliana Malinova Iotova (S&D). (BG) As a shadow rapporteur on the external dimension, I would like to congratulate Ms Lövin on her excellent work on the report and the entire secretariat, who were very professional. The work on the report was very complicated as we had to get to the core of the interests of the Member States and the Community, of the European Union and third countries, of the neighbouring sea states, while strictly adhering to international agreements, observing competition boundaries and market regulation. We also had to get to the core of commercial interests and the development of the fisheries sector, while guaranteeing the sustainability of fish stocks and the observation of environmental standards, and establishing strict rules. The activity of the regional fisheries organisations was also covered and emphasis was put in creating such a body for the Black Sea. We worked hard and reached the best compromises.

Therefore, I cannot fathom why Mr Аdrover tabled a new, alternative motion, literally at the eleventh hour, thereby surprising all of the committee members, who had voted almost unanimously for Ms Lövin’s report. The arguments he presented tonight could not convince me or, I imagine, the majority in this room, and I call on my colleagues not to support this alternative motion.

 
  
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  Carmen Fraga Estévez (PPE). (ES) Mr President, I want to concentrate on Ms Patrão’s report on shark fishing, and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate her on her excellent work and her spirit of collaboration.

Having said that, there are not many others to be congratulated, particularly the European Commission, because this proposal is a clear demonstration of what should never happen in the fisheries sector. Its partisan approach and the clear lack of consensus contradict the principles of the next reform, especially the bottom-up decision-making process involving consultation – of both the sector involved and civil society – in order to reach a compromise.

Commissioner, a compromise on measures that have such a serious impact on a fleet’s future cannot just be a compromise between you and the NGOs. You have positioned yourself exclusively on their side and that means that the Commission is working in the interests of one part of civil society, yet there is no compromise with those who are affected.

I, personally, have been very much involved in this matter and have worked tirelessly with the sector to convince it of the need to relax its initial positions so that no one could object to the final proposals. I have done the same with the NGOs, but it has proved impossible because they knew that the Commission was on their side. Why, therefore, would they want to seek a compromise?

In relation to what you said about the international dimension, Commissioner, I have just attended a meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICAAT), at which every single resolution on sharks was rejected, including one like the text that you are proposing: the debate on it lasted not even a minute and, indeed, the European Commission did not even say anything.

Therefore, Commissioner, do you believe that under these circumstances it is necessary to condemn a fleet in the face of its competitors? Would it not have been much better to wait for ICAAT to take a decision?

I would like to ask you to state publicly here that no finning takes place in the European Union. This is because of the comments during the NGOs’ campaign of lies. I would ask you to state whether or not there is any finning in the European Union.

 
  
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  Ulrike Rodust (S&D). (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, with our report on small-scale fishing, we are underlining the fact that we are sensitive to the needs of traditional and artisanal fishermen and listen to their concerns.

Traditional fishing produces more jobs and less CO2 per kilo of catch than industrial fishing. The small-scale fishing lobby, however, is weaker. That is why we must be vigilant and ensure that it is not put at a disadvantage in the allocation of quotas, for example. We will also be voting tomorrow on Parliament’s position on the external dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy.

This report is intended to form the basis for our future decisions, for example on fisheries agreements. I am pleased that with one exception, all groups were able to agree on a text.

A minority has now drafted a resolution which I hope will be rejected by a majority of the House. The comments that have been made about shark-finning give me cause for optimism. Here, the PPE appears to be endorsing the majority opinion, albeit at the last minute. Shark-finning must be banned in the EU at long last, without any legal loopholes.

 
  
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  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE). – (PL) Mr President, Commissioner, I would like to begin by thanking Mr Gróbarczyk for his excellent work on the report on the multiannual plan for the Baltic salmon stock. However, it did not have the easiest of beginnings. Unfortunately, the series of solutions proposed by the Commission were, in many places, unworkable. In order to ensure that the proposal for a Regulation was comprehensive and could be fully implemented for the benefit of fish stocks and fishermen, a great deal of work was needed. The substance of the Commission proposal, for which we waited a long time, did not provide a basis for the constructive exchange of opinions, which was unfortunate, as this proposal for a Regulation will have a huge impact on the salmon fishing sector. Happily, we have managed to work together across political group lines to draft a good text and to reach an effective compromise, as a result of which no new amendments have been tabled during this part-session. I congratulate Mr Gróbarczyk on that achievement.

I would like to refer to a few issues. The most important for me is that of stocking. Fortunately, the sections portraying this practice in a very bad light have been removed. We should focus, above all, on sourcing better-quality and genetically safe material for stocking and on preventing inappropriate stocking. Only when poorly carried out does stocking have an adverse effect on the genetic diversity of Baltic salmon stocks. It should be stressed that, without restorative stocking, there would be no salmon at all in many rivers. The fact that 20 % of all landings will be inspected is also to be welcomed. I think that this provision, which is in line with Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, is a very good compromise. The need to include both commercial and recreational fisheries under the plan has been addressed by Mr Gróbarczyk and I welcome that. Once again, I congratulate the rapporteur.

 
  
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  Guido Milana (S&D). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank the five rapporteurs who have worked so hard on these matters, and since I can only deal with one of these questions, for the second I will wear something on my head in order to demonstrate my conviction that no fish, under EU law, can be landed without fins, and so I do not understand why sharks may be landed in this manner. Thus, in honour of sharks I am wearing a fin for the remainder of my speech.

I want to support the position taken by Ms Lövin and oppose the Group of the European People’s Party’s alternative motion for a resolution. I think that this alternative motion for a resolution tabled by the PPE Group, signed by the Chair, poses a very serious problem because it deletes an important part of this report involving the conclusion of fisheries agreements in the Mediterranean. Without fisheries agreements with other countries, our Mediterranean is condemned to certain death. Removing the possibility of conducting a fisheries foreign policy in the Mediterranean means killing the sea. I would therefore ask the Chair to withdraw this motion before tomorrow, and call on all Mediterranean MEPs to vote against it if the motion is not withdrawn.

 
  
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  Lambert van Nistelrooij (PPE). (NL) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, fishing is a vital sector in Europe. That is perfectly obvious from the five reports and the debate this evening. Major economic and ecological interests are involved.

As rapporteur on five future Structural Funds for the general regulation which covers the sea and the Fisheries Fund, I would also like to point out the opportunities we have to invest in an integrated approach for the coastal regions. It is the Ferreira report that draws attention to the small-scale fisheries, the artisan fishing operations. It is important to maintain them for the attractiveness of coastal areas and for maintaining a balance, including ecological balance, in these areas. In my country too, in the Netherlands, the shellfish and crustacean sector is small but vitally important. It is important, therefore, not to confine our attention to the large scale. New initiatives, such as aquaculture, can supplement the bigger operations. We can also make use of the Regional Development Fund in the coastal regions.

Second, technology can help us. I will give you an example of a development in the Netherland – a young fisherman from Volendam won an prize for innovation with it – which enables by-catch to be flushed back into the sea alive. It can be used on a number of vessels in a number of sectors. A development like this really does help us make progress, and I would like to ask the Commissioner whether she will strenuously support innovations like this. The funds will allow this and I think that it would be a good contribution to the image of the sector.

 
  
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  Dolores García-Hierro Caraballo (S&D). (ES) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, as a member of the Spanish delegation of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, I want to express my concern at this time because we have to reach an agreement on the reform of the common fisheries policy, and I specifically want to address those of who hold the majority in the Council and in this Parliament, that is, the conservatives.

I believe that we need a fair and balanced fisheries reform; a reform that respects fishery resources, social and economic sustainability, the environment and the marine environment; a reform that is fair to fishermen, who for centuries have used low-impact, selective fishing gear and who look after the sea because it has been, and continues to be, their main source of life. Some 80 % of the European fleet is involved in coastal, artisanal and inshore fishing. It is the lifeblood of entire regions, it shapes our culture and our gastronomy, it guarantees a fresh, high-quality produce and it generates a great deal of employment. It is therefore important to take that reality into account, promote training and integration for young people and ensure that women earn equal wages.

Finally, there is absolutely no economic or social justification for the removal of shark fins.

 
  
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  Jens Nilsson (S&D). (SV) Mr President, as someone who lives in the north of Sweden, I hope that we can take an important step with our resolution tomorrow so as to guarantee that the reproductive capacity of wild salmon in the Baltic Sea is improved, but it certainly seems that there is still a lot more to do in the future.

I actually asked for the floor in order to ask about shark fins. When I was new to the Committee on Fisheries in February, I stumbled straight into a discussion on shark fins, and I was astonished because I thought it had been banned for 10 years. We must do something about the fact that it has been banned for 10 years and is still carrying on.

I am very pleased that we will hopefully close the loophole in the rules in force through our resolution tomorrow. The rules for fishing must be appropriate for achieving the goal, simple to implement on the water and also easy to check in the harbour.

In this way, we will stop the incongruities effectively, without making a mess of it.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). (GA) Mr President, when I was elected as an MEP three years ago, I had very little knowledge of the common fisheries policy or of the problems affecting the fishing industry. Now, however, thanks to the benefit of research and attending meetings – and listening to the debates – I have a far better understanding of it.

I must say that tonight’s discussion has been the most positive and optimistic of those I have attended regarding fisheries. I am particularly delighted with the emphasis being put on the need to preserve coastal communities and small-scale fisheries, to maintain stocks and ecosystems, to base our decisions on up-to-date scientific advice and to end the despicable practice of discards.

The Commissioner has made the point – which is true – that you cannot monitor all fishing vessels but, given that most of the damage is being done by large-scale vessels, would she not consider making resources available to monitor those vessels, because finning, mincing and flag hopping are all part and parcel of what many of the large-scale vessels do? Would she also consider introducing more draconian measures which would act as a deterrent as well?

 
  
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  Gesine Meissner (ALDE). (DE) Mr President, we have some very interesting reports on fisheries reform before the House today. I would like to comment on three of them.

Firstly, as we all know, fishing is one of the oldest crafts practised by humankind. Even now, many forms of fishing are practised by small-scale and medium-sized operations and artisanal fishermen. We put SMEs at the heart of our policies in Europe and I think it is right that this report also focuses very strongly on their needs. That is my first comment.

Secondly, with regard to the external dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy, fish is already an important source of protein in many countries; this applies particularly to developing countries and their populations. With a growing world population, it is important in future to ensure, to an even greater extent than before, that people who rely on local fish as a source of protein can actually catch fish off their own coasts and that only the surplus is available to European fishermen, for example, under fisheries agreements.

My final comment relates to shark finning. It is unacceptable, it is barbaric, and it should be banned. I think there is general agreement on that.

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D). (PT) Mr President, small-scale fishing deserves to be specially protected under the common fisheries policy, not only because it promotes socioeconomic cohesion and sustains many families, but also because it helps ensure the survival of these communities in coastal areas. Its economic and social sustainability should be an objective, with a tailored fishing regime that gives priority of access to resources, enables local management and protects the fishing rights from which fishing professionals in these communities benefit in response to transferable fishing rights.

The regime for access to waters is equally important to its sustainability, particularly in regions with marine bio-geographic basins, with limited continental shelves and scarce resources, concentrated around seamounts and fishing groups to which access must be protected.

In a context of liberalisation and crisis, which is weighing heavy on the vulnerable regions, it must also be ensured that products originating from international trade meet the same requirements as EU products.

 
  
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
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  Maria Damanaki, Member of the Commission. − I shall now make a few comments, firstly on the Baltic salmon proposal. I would also like to thank the rapporteur for his excellent work, which was recognised by all the speakers.

Just two clarifications: regarding the problem of predators – yes, I recognise that there is a problem; and yes, we are trying to find concrete data and figures about the size and severity of the problem. But at the end of the day, Mr Gróbarczyk, I would like to remind you and all the Members that this is a national competence. This is not a competence of the Commission. This is a competence that comes from the Environment Directive, and so it is a competence of the Member States. We are now trying to find out the impact – the result – of the action of these predators, but this is all we can do. I would just like to clarify this situation.

As regards recreational fisheries – specifically salmon – a lot of the Members of this House have referred to this problem. Yes, there is a problem. We have some studies which have references saying that, for example, recreational fisheries in the Baltic take maybe 20 % of the whole salmon catch. Can you imagine 20 % only from recreation fisheries? But recreational fisheries are a competence of the Member States, so what we can do is to ensure that what recreational fisheries are doing is really recreational: catching fish for consumption and not for sale. However, the Member States have to cooperate on this, as we cannot touch these issues. I would like to give you this clarification.

Regarding the Technical Measures regulation, I would like just to mention that – as a lot of Members of this House have said – it would make the rapporteur’s life, the committee’s life and our lives much easier if we had the regionalisation provision implemented. A lot of details that are in this regulation could then be decided by the regional bodies, so this would be a great comfort to the rapporteur and to all of you. That is why I would like to urge you to support the Commission’s proposal for regionalisation. I am afraid that in the Council meetings I cannot see a lot of progress concerning this issue. I do not want to finalise the discussion now, but we have a lack of progress in the Council. So really I think that, with regard to the reform, Parliament can give us some strength to defend this regionalisation policy.

Concerning shark finning, I would like to reassure you that all the consultation procedures were followed with regard to our proposal. We did not come here without having a consultation process lasting many months. It is a process which is very well organised under very strict rules – the Commission rules. We also have an impact assessment. We try to prepare as well as possible, but, at the end of the day, we have to realise that the great majority of the Members who spoke on this issue understand the need to close all the loopholes we have in our legislation. I hope we will be able to put an end to this harmful practice. I think I have to repeat that a lot of other countries are doing the same, and they have fleets that are profitable, so please help us. Of course we need to work with our industry to find the best solutions for the implementation of this legislation.

With respect to small-scale fisheries, there were a lot of interventions here. This is reasonable, since it is a very important issue. I would like to welcome the comments about women in the fishery sector, and we can do a lot of things here with regard to the funding ideas we have. Concerning young people, I would like to inform you that, during the last Council meeting, I announced that we are going to amend the Commission’s proposal for the next financial perspective in order to give some incentives to young people to enter the sector. This can help create a more positive climate in our coastal areas, which must be our focus. I agree with you that this has to be our main target.

I would also like to mention here that we need support in order to go for measures that can help coastal communities in a more constructive way. Let me give you an example. I am very sorry that we have missed the opportunity to have a mandatory label with the date of catch on fish products, because this would help our local fisheries a lot, because the consumer would then be informed about fresh fish and could perhaps make a different choice. Nevertheless, we are going to continue, and there are other market measures which can help the local communities.

I can also say to you that I very much welcome all these ideas about more selective gears coming from small-scale fisheries. We are going to ring fence a great deal of money with regard to the next financial perspectives for innovation and more selective gears.

A final remark about the external dimension: I can understand that this is a very complicated issue. I have also underlined that this is an issue which comes with trade policy and foreign affairs policy. We also have to concentrate on our relationships with other countries – sometimes these are countries which are not very well developed. We therefore have to bear in mind that we cannot go there to fish in the way we used to some decades ago.

Let me make it clear: we need to respect these people and their sustainability issues. We have to fish only for the surplus; we have to pay adequate prices, but they also have to contribute to this change, otherwise we will not be able to fish outside European waters. It is as simple as that. We have to follow the same rules, I agree with you – all of you who intervened highlighted this.

I also understand that we need to move further beyond our agreements, in order to find a way to maintain a level playing field between our fishermen and the fishermen of other countries. This is the case, for instance, in the Mediterranean and in other areas where we have to work side-by-side with fishermen from other countries. We have to be sure that our fishermen who respect the rules have a level playing field with third-country vessels. This will not be easy, but we need to have a solid policy to ensure that sustainability issues concerning our waters are respected, in order to embark on international cooperation on combating illegal fisheries. This is what we are trying to do.

I would just like to remind you that we have some problems with our fisheries agreements. This is something which has already been mentioned, and it is not only an issue of policy. It is also an institutional problem, because cooperation between Parliament, the Council and the Commission is not at the level we would like it to be. We are facing additional problems with regard to the agreements owing to the reluctance of the Council to give Parliament a say on this.

We have to focus on these issues; we have to work together – I agree with you. I would like, Mr President, to thank all the Members; after all, we did have a positive discussion tonight.

 
  
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  Carmen Fraga Estévez (PPE). (ES) Mr President, I believe that the Commissioner is also here to answer our questions. I asked her to state publicly whether or not the removal of fins, or finning, is common practice in the EU fleet, as many Members have said. I would like her to say whether or not that is true.

 
  
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  Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, rapporteur. Mr President, in response to the Commissioner’s comments on the subject of predators, I would like to assure her that it was not our or my intention to oblige the Commission to take any action in this respect. As the Commissioner pointed out, recreational fishing accounts for 20 % of salmon catches and, as she is aware, we would like her and the Commission to find out the percentage of stocks caught by predators. This is an important question in terms of assessing and determining how many fish we actually have. I am pleased that we agree on these issues. In the mean time, we – or I – are most concerned with what will happen next with this report. Will it, like the other management plans, end up in the proverbial waste-paper bin or deep-freeze, or will we be able to implement it and forward it to the individual Member States to implement? I have serious doubts about that; while the Commissioner may be happy, as she mentioned at the beginning, that the subject of fisheries is attracting the attention of an increasing number of Members, I must say that the Council’s interest in this matter is inversely proportionate to that of MEPs. And that worries me.

For my part, I would like to thank the Commissioner and all the rapporteurs for their work and for the significant contribution to my report. I would also like to thank Mr Wałęsa for his very kind words and to appeal to Members to support this report tomorrow.

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher, rapporteur. Mr President, while I would have appreciated having the opportunity to refer to the other reports, time does not permit me to do so. I want to congratulate the other rapporteurs and wish them well. I want to thank the Commissioner for her kind words, bearing in mind the time constraints; we had a very short period of time to prepare a report and bring it through the Committee. I am very grateful for the broad general support which there is for the Technical Measures report.

This agreement provides for a review, which I had hoped to refer to earlier, of the defined area for cod recovery by 1 January 2015. This means that the line may be removed in its entirety – of course following scientific assessment, and that is all important. The mesh sizes used within the defined area will also be reviewed, so it is important that we review, from year to year or bi-annually, the report approved by the Committee.

It also proposes the introduction of a new and appropriate mesh size for small pelagic species. The express intention of the Committee was to avoid the same problem we had some two years ago in relation to boarfish, where it was necessary for Parliament to introduce a specific amendment to allow that important lucrative fishery to exist. As a result of that, boarfish is a very sustainable and well-managed fishery.

However, the Council refused to support the amendment and, as a result, other, non-EU countries may take advantage of this and build up historical catches. The whole purpose of the amendment was to enable the development of new fisheries into the future which, of course, is respecting UN FAO guidelines on how new and developing fisheries should be dealt with in detail.

Last year the Council approved the declaration on the development of fisheries. Hopefully the Council, at the December meeting, could do the same and allow us to concentrate on other fisheries.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, rapporteur. (PT) Mr President, having listened to the Commissioner, I have to say that it is a shame that she has not read my proposals. It is a shame that she does not know that all countries abiding by the attached fin rule only fish for fresh fish, as I propose. It is a shame that she does not realise that Taiwan, which has freezer vessels, is currently reviewing the rule proposed by the Commissioner due to lack of fish quality. It is also a shame that she was not honest enough to say that there is no finning taking place and that her proposal is a concession to the non-governmental organisations.

Having listened to my fellow Members make some truly incredible statements due to being out of touch with reality, I hope that they will better inform themselves before making decisions, which are never inconsequential for workers and their families.

 
  
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  João Ferreira, rapporteur. (PT) Mr President, I referred a short while ago to several important proposals contained in the report on small-scale fishing, for which I request your support tomorrow. However, I have to say that this report could and should have gone further.

In addition to the proposals I have already mentioned, there were others that would also have been very useful in adding value to small-scale fishing. These proposals include, for example: drawing up a specific EU programme supporting small-scale fishing; defending tailored treatment through management regimes and models adapted to the specific problems and characteristics of this sector; supporting the renewal and modernisation of the fleet; adopting forms of intervention in the sector’s value chain in cases where there is a serious imbalance, such as setting maximum intermediation margins for each agent in the chain, and enhancing the first-sale prices; and implementing and extending reserved areas with exclusive access, currently set at 12 miles, to adjacent areas, in line with the continental shelf. In the case of the outermost regions, this area should be increased from 100 to 200 miles in order to better protect local fleets and the communities that depend on them, by giving them priority access to resources.

Regrettably, these proposals were not supported by a majority in the committee vote. However, we will not let them drop.

Commissioner, it is positive that the Commission has corrected its position on the involvement of young people in this sector, but it should also have corrected many other positions, such as the restrictive definition of small-scale fishing on which it continues to insist, and the attempted imposition of a single management model, based on transferable fishing concessions, which, if approved, would have disastrous consequences for small-scale fishing in Europe, as many people are well-aware.

 
  
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  Isabella Lövin, rapporteur. Mr President, thank you to all the colleagues who have commented on and supported the report on the external dimension of the common fisheries policy. We really appreciate the Commission’s original proposal and we also appreciate that the Commission welcomes the additional dimension that we have added to the external communication – the inclusion of the issues of trade, private agreements and private operators from the EU that are actually fishing outside of the EU waters. They should somehow also be included, in our view, in the external dimension of the CFP.

The EU is now very dependent on imports of fish. We are importing 60 %, but the 40 % that is counted as ‘domestic fisheries’ is actually 23 % of the value of that, through the fisheries partnerships agreements. So this is really not sustainable. What we are doing is not sustainable; we are making ourselves more and more dependent on fish from foreign seas, and this is not how the EU should proceed.

If we want to take responsibility for our own consumption of fish, we must first rebuild European stocks. We should therefore take the reform of the CFP really seriously and rebuild all the European stocks to levels above those capable of producing MSY. Secondly, in our fisheries partnerships agreements we take development cooperation seriously and help developing countries to develop their own fisheries industry so that they can support their own populations and perhaps export some of the fish to us. That is the way to go.

 
  
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  President. – The joint debate is closed.

The vote will take place tomorrow at 12.00.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Birgit Collin-Langen (PPE), in writing. – The population of salmon has dramatically decreased over the past few years, provoked by pollution, some caused by man-made problems, as well as by extensive exploitation of salmon stocks. That is why there is an obvious need for a sustainable approach in fisheries management with regard to salmon stocks in the Baltic Sea. Dealing with this issue, the Gróbarczyk report suggests that the Baltic salmon stock should be exploited in a sustainable way, according to the principle of maximum sustainable yield. I agree with the rapporteur’s proposal to ensure diversity and integrity in management of the salmon stock.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) I would encourage you all to fill the gaps in the existing legislation on the removal of shark fins by ensuring that all sharks captured by EU vessels throughout the world are landed with their fins naturally attached, and I would stress that no exceptions should be tolerated. I would therefore ask you to reject any attempt to introduce amendments to retain the derogation that would allow finning to go unnoticed. The adoption of this proposal would help to ensure greater protection for sharks in the EU, but it would also allow the EU to contribute to the global effort to eradicate finning, which is as cruel as it is pointless, by encouraging regional fisheries organisations such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to adopt policies requiring sharks’ fins to be naturally attached to their bodies, without exception. Most EU citizens agree with me. We represent them and we must not forget that!

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The European Union must support small-scale and artisanal fishing given that, in some regions, it is the locals’ sole source of income. In these circumstances, these two types of fishing could benefit from the new European Fund for Maritime and Fisheries policies, given that approximately 80 % of the Union’s fishing activities are operated by boats less than 15 m long. In Romania’s case, for instance, this is entirely accurate, as hundreds of families make a living from this type of fishing. I wish to draw attention to the fact that transferable fishing concessions could put small-scale fishermen at a serious disadvantage in relation to more competitive fishing operators. I believe that the European Parliament must strongly reject this system.

 
Posljednje ažuriranje: 4. ožujka 2013.Pravna napomena