Procedure : 2011/2290(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0253/2012

Texts tabled :

A7-0253/2012

Debates :

PV 11/09/2012 - 20
CRE 11/09/2012 - 20

Votes :

PV 12/09/2012 - 7.10
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0336

REPORT     
PDF 256kWORD 171k
24 July 2012
PE 485.885v03-00 A7-0253/2012

on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy – Overarching Communication

(2011/2290(INI))

Committee on Fisheries

Rapporteur: Nikolaos Salavrakos

AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy – Overarching Communication

(2011/2290(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (‘New York Agreement’ of 4 August 1995),

–   having regard to the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, adopted on 31 October 1995,

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2002 on the Commission Green Paper on the future of the common fisheries policy(1),

–   having regard to the declaration made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held from 26 August to 4 September 2002 in Johannesburg,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 of 20 December 2002 on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources under the Common Fisheries Policy(2),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Implementing sustainability in EU fisheries through maximum sustainable yield’ (COM(2006)0360) and to Parliament’s resolution on the implementation of sustainable fishing in the EU on the basis of maximum sustainable yield(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2007 on the Common Market Organisation of fisheries and aquaculture products(4),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘A policy to reduce unwanted by-catches and eliminate discards in European fisheries’ (COM(2007)0136) and to Parliament’s resolution of 31 January 2008 on a policy to reduce unwanted by-catches and eliminate discards in European fisheries(5),

–   having regard to the European Court of Auditors’ Special Report No 12/2011 entitled ‘Have EU measures contributed to adapting the capacity of the fishing fleets to available fishing opportunities?’,

–   having regard to Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive)(6),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on the role of the CFP in implementing an ecosystem approach to marine management (COM(2008)0187) and to Parliament’s resolution of 13 January 2009 on the CFP and the ecosystem approach to fisheries management(7),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 3 September 2008 entitled ‘A European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research: A coherent European Research Area framework in support of a sustainable use of oceans and seas’ (COM(2008)0534) and to Parliament’s resolution of 19 February 2009 on applied research relating to the common fisheries policy(8),

–   having regard to its resolution of 24 April 2009 on ‘Governance within the CFP: the European Parliament, the Regional Advisory Councils and other actors’(9),

–   having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and to its resolution of 7 May 2009 on Parliament’s new role and responsibilities in implementing the Lisbon Treaty(10),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Building a sustainable future for aquaculture – A new impetus for the Strategy for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture’ (COM(2009)0162),

–   having regard to the Commission’s Green Paper of 22 April 2009 on the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (COM(2009)0163),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 February 2010 on the Green Paper on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy(11),

–   having regard to Aichi Target 6 in the Nagoya Protocol, published after the Nagoya Summit on Biodiversity, which took place from 18 to 29 October 2010,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal of 13 July 2011 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Common Fisheries Policy (COM(2011)0425) and to the Commission staff working paper accompanying that proposal (SEC(2011)0891),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy’ (COM(2011)0417),

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (COM(2011)0804),

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products (COM(2011)0416),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on the External Dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy (COM(2011)0424),

–   having regard to the Commission Report on Reporting Obligations under Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 of 20 December 2002 on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources under the Common Fisheries Policy (COM(2011)0418),

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2012 on the contribution of the common fisheries policy to the production of public goods(12),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2011 on the European fisheries sector crisis due to the rise in oil prices(13),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Europe 2020’ (COM(2010)2020),

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Regional Development (A7-0253/2012),

A. whereas this is the first time in the history of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that Parliament is acting as co-legislator in establishing a reformed CFP;

B.  whereas the fishing industry is of strategic importance in terms of the public supply of fish and the food balance in various Member States and in the European Union itself, and whereas it makes a considerable contribution to socio-economic well-being in coastal communities, local development, employment, the preservation and creation of economic activities upstream and downstream and the preservation of local cultural traditions;

C. whereas, despite certain progress made following its revision in 2002, the present communication recalls that the previous CFP failed to achieve some of its key objectives: many stocks are overfished; the economic situation of parts of the EU fleet is fragile despite subsidies; jobs in the fishing sector are being lost and are unattractive, especially to young people entering the sector; and the situation of many coastal communities depending on fisheries and aquaculture is precarious;

D. whereas the previous CFP did, nevertheless, have some positive impact, enabling the restoration of certain stocks and the creation of regional advisory councils (RACs);

E.  whereas it is vital that the CFP pursues an approach to the fisheries sector that takes into account the biological, ecological, and economic and social dimensions (the three pillars of the CFP reform), so that a compromise is always struck between the state of existing resources in the various maritime areas and protection of the socio-economic fabric of coastal communities that depend on inshore fishing to guarantee jobs and prosperity;

F.  whereas the EU represents about 4.6 % of global fisheries and aquaculture production, which makes it the world’s fourth-biggest producer; whereas, nevertheless, the EU imports over 60 % of the fish it consumes;

G. whereas, notwithstanding the acknowledged lack of scientific data, the Commission estimates that 75 % of the EU’s fish stocks are overexploited, that more than 60 % of stocks in European waters are being fished beyond the maximum sustainable yield (MSY), and that the EU is losing approximately EUR 1.8 billion per year in potential income as a result of its failure to manage fisheries sustainably;

H. whereas, nevertheless, some EU fisheries are accredited as being sustainable, showing that cooperation between the governing authorities, the fishing industry and other stakeholders can bring about satisfactory results;

I.   whereas, according to the Commission, the Council’s decisions have exceeded scientific recommendations by an average of 47 % since 2003 and 63 % of estimated stocks in the Atlantic are currently being overfished, as are 82 % of those in the Mediterranean and four out of six of those in the Baltic;

J.   whereas, although the EU’s fishing industry lost 30 % of its jobs between 2002 and 2007 because of the poor state of fish stocks, the fall in prices caused by cheaper imports, and technological advances, the fisheries sector (including aquaculture) is still estimated to have generated EUR 34.2 billion in annual earnings during that period, and creates more than 350 000 jobs both upstream and downstream in the fishing, fish processing and marketing sectors, in particular in coastal areas, remote regions and islands, where it produces ‘public goods’ of which due account has not been taken; whereas, despite the jobs lost, the fleets’ fishing capacity has increased significantly thanks to technological advances;

K. whereas the available data on the actual capacity of the European fishing fleet are not reliable, because technological developments have not been taken into account and Member States are failing to report data accurately on fleet capacities;

L.  whereas the incomes and wages of people working in the fishing industry are insecure owing to the way fish is marketed, the way first-sale prices are set and the irregular characteristics of fishing, meaning that adequate national and EU public funding for the sector needs to be maintained;

M. whereas artisanal and small-scale fleets, on the one hand, including those involved in shellfish harvesting and other traditional and extensive aquaculture activities, and fleets of a larger-scale industrial nature, on the other hand, have very different characteristics, as indeed do fleets in different parts of the EU regardless of vessel size; whereas, accordingly, appropriate management instruments and problems cannot be fitted into a uniform model, and thus different fleets need to be treated differently;

N. whereas the reform of the CFP must ensure the future survival and prosperity of artisanal and small-scale fishing fleets and of coastal areas, including outermost regions, that are heavily dependent on fishing and which may require transitional socio-economic support under the new CFP, without leading to an increase in total fleet capacity;

O. whereas there is a need for representatives of industrial and small-scale fleets and of the aquaculture sector to be involved in defining and developing the new CFP;

P.  whereas women play a fundamental role in the processing and aquaculture sector, the exercise of ancillary management and administrative tasks, and shellfish gathering; whereas they are also, albeit to a lesser extent, active in the catching sector; whereas, however, their important contribution is very often not duly recognised and rewarded;

Q. whereas the Treaty of Lisbon requires us to ensure coherence in Union policies, including in the reform of the CFP;

R.  whereas fishery and aquaculture products play a significant role in human diet, both in Europe and worldwide, as a source of protein-rich healthy food;

S.  whereas schoolchildren need to be taught from an early age about the wide variety of fish species available and the seasonality of such species;

T.  whereas consumers need to be informed on an ongoing basis of the wide variety of species available, in order to reduce pressure on certain stocks;

U. whereas the CFP should bear responsibility for financing its costs, in particular the decisions and measures adopted under it;

OBJECTIVES OF THE REFORM

I Environmental sustainability

Measures for the conservation of marine biological resources

1.  Considers the prime objective of any fisheries policy to be to ensure the supply of fish to the public and the development of coastal communities, promoting employment and better working conditions for fishing professionals while seeking to establish resources on a sustainable footing which makes for proper conservation;

2.  Considers that the CFP (extractive fisheries and aquaculture sector) needs thorough and ambitious reform if the EU is to ensure long-term environmental sustainability, which is a prerequisite for securing the economic and social viability of the EU fishing and aquaculture sector; maintains that the reformed policy must be coordinated more closely with other EU policies such as cohesion policy, environmental policy, agricultural policy and external policy, and that future international sustainable fisheries agreements must be consistent with it; points out, in this connection, the importance of tools such as the integrated maritime policy and the macro-regional approach, which can offer closer integration;

3.  Stresses that any and every fisheries policy should take account of a multitude of dimensions – social, environmental and economic – that require an integrated and balanced approach which is incompatible with a vision that creates a hierarchy among them according to an a priori definition of priorities;

4.  Emphasises that the EU’s extractive fisheries and aquaculture sector, if properly managed on the basis of global sustainability, could make a greater contribution to the needs of European society in terms of food security and quality, employment, environmental protection and the maintenance of dynamic and varied fishing and coastal communities;

5.  Recognises that fishing has provided employment for numerous, often economically fragile communities around the coasts of Europe for many generations; considers that all these communities, regardless of size, deserve protection under European fisheries policy and that the historical link between communities and the waters they have historically fished must be maintained;

6.  Believes that, by applying the concept of conditionality, incentives should be offered to those who fish, or harvest shellfish, sustainably using environmentally sustainable, low-impact and selective fishing gear and methods, in order to ensure the widespread use of such fishing practices and the sustainable development of coastal communities; considers that the fishing industry itself must play a key role in developing sustainable fishing methods, and that all such incentives should be offered at a level close to the stakeholders and with the cooperation of fishermen and other interested bodies; notes that this includes the provision of support for a voluntary EU eco-label, which could be subcontracted to existing certification bodies, in order to ensure a level playing field for fishermen and producers both outside and inside the EU;

7.  Is convinced that the reform of the CFP must establish suitable and effective instruments to support ecosystem-based fisheries management; believes, therefore, that the multiannual management plans must take account of such an ecosystemic approach; believes that it is imperative to put an end to the institutional impasse in relation to those multiannual management plans, and that the ordinary legislative procedure should be applied; considers, in addition, that real micro-management powers must be devolved to Member States cooperating on a regional basis;

8.  Reiterates that all development in marine and coastal areas must comply with environmental legislation such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the biodiversity protection directives, as sound environmental status should be a precondition for all activities in marine and coastal regions;

9.  Stresses that the CFP must apply the precautionary approach to fisheries management and ensure that the sustainable exploitation of living marine biological resources restores and maintains populations of all stocks of harvested species above levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield (MSY); stresses that a clear timetable, including a final deadline, must be established in the basic regulation; emphasises that the provision of appropriate economic resources for the implementation of the CFP is necessary in order to phase out overfishing wherever it is demonstrated and achieve sustainable stock conservation, which requires reliable scientific data;

10. Believes that the objective of achieving MSY based on fishing mortality (FMSY) should be implemented immediately, as this will contribute significantly to putting the sustainability of stocks on the right track; calls on the Commission and the Member States to implement this objective in an operational manner, based on sound scientific data and taking account of the socio-economic consequences;

11. Underlines, however, the difficulties involved in implementing the MSY principle, in particular in the case of mixed fisheries or where scientific data on fish stocks are unavailable or unreliable; asks, therefore, for adequate sums to be allocated to scientific research and data collection with a view to the implementation of a sustainable fishing policy;

12. Calls on the Commission to provide for the establishment of long-term management plans (LTMPs) for all EU fisheries and for the use of the ecosystem approach as a basis for all such plans, with clearly defined objectives and harvest control rules playing a pivotal role in each plan, which is to lay down rules for determining annual fishing effort, taking into account the difference between the fishery’s current stock size and structure and the target stock objective; urges the Council, in this connection, to follow the objectives of the LTMPs without exception;

13. Underlines the direct link between discards, unwanted by-catch and overfishing, and understands the Commission’s motivations and the need to develop an efficient no-discards policy at EU level whereby the Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) should have greater powers to ensure a fair system of rules and sanctions in accordance with the principle of equal treatment;

14. Proposes, therefore, that comprehensive documentation of the quantities of species fished over a certain volume and not landed be made mandatory in order to meet the needs of scientific research and enable development of selective equipment for vessels to be developed in full knowledge of the facts;

15. Believes that the gradual elimination of discards should be fishery-based and depend on the characteristics and realities of the different modalities and fisheries, bearing in mind that it is easier to achieve in some single-species fisheries and that it presents some challenges for mixed fisheries that need to be overcome; stresses that consideration should be given to producers’ and fishermen’s organisations, which should be actively involved; stresses that the elimination of discards should be accompanied by technical measures to reduce or eliminate unwanted by-catch and incentives to encourage selective fishing practices; believes that priority should go to avoiding unwanted catches in the first place, rather than managing them; is concerned, in this connection, about the emergence of a parallel discards market which would constitute a danger for the ecosystem and the European fishing sector; emphasises that adequate safeguards should therefore be provided; also stresses the need for stakeholder involvement and for careful design of the landing obligation and the subsequent treatment thereof, in order to avoid a shift from unwanted fish in the sea to unwanted fish on land;

16. Stresses the need to step up scientific research and allocate adequate funding to it, and to develop fishing gear and fishing techniques in such a way as to avoid unwanted catches; asks the Commission to propose sufficient and appropriate measures and to provide the Member States with financial support for that purpose; underlines, to this end, the importance of addressing the management of mixed fisheries; notes that the existing technology for reducing or eliminating discards is not equally effective for all types of fishery; calls on the Commission, in this connection, to promote partnerships between scientists and fishermen, to consider their opinions when drawing up its policies and to assist Member States in the development of new fishing techniques;

17. Calls on the Commission and the Member States immediately to conduct ‘pilot projects’ aimed at improving gear selectivity;

18. Notes the difficulty of applying a measure for the elimination of discards in the case of mixed fisheries, including, but not limited to, those in the Mediterranean, given the existence of specific fishing practices and specific climatic and geological conditions; believes that further consultation is needed in order to tackle the difficulties linked to establishing the necessary infrastructure for collecting and processing by-catch, as proposed by the Commission; calls for further measures to reduce the catch of juveniles and discourage the market in juveniles;

19. Stresses the specific characteristics of the outermost regions, which in economic, social and demographic terms are highly dependent on fishing (predominantly on a small scale), and which are surrounded by deep sea; believes it is necessary to restrict access to their biogeographically sensitive marine areas to local fleets that use environment-friendly fishing gear;

20. Expresses its doubts over the proposals relating to the market in by-catches and stresses that, in the event that they are implemented, adequate safeguards should be provided in order to avoid the emergence of a parallel market that would encourage fishermen to increase their catches;

21. Believes that the discard ban should be based on a step-by-step introduction by fishery, to make it easier for the sector to adapt; stresses that producers’ organisations should be actively involved in the gradual implementation of such a ban;

22. Asks the Commission to assist Member States in offsetting the various socio-economic consequences of adopting a discards ban;

23. Stresses that the introduction of measures for the gradual elimination of discards would require an in-depth reform of the control and enforcement system; asks the Commission to assist Member States in this respect, in order to ensure that enforcement applies across the board in a uniform manner; believes that the CFCA must be adequately supported, with sufficient powers and resources to fulfil its duties and thereby assist the Member States in applying their systems of rules and sanctions;

24. Calls on the Commission to investigate the reduction in fish stocks owing to natural predators such as sea lions, seals and cormorants, and to draw up and implement management plans to regulate these populations in cooperation with the affected Member States;

25. Calls on the Commission to implement programmes to educate schoolchildren and consumers alike as to the variety of species available and the importance of consuming fish which is sustainably produced;

26. Recalls the obligation contained in the Treaty of Lisbon to ensure the coherence of the Union’s policies, including in the reform of the CFP;

Monitoring and collecting quality data

27. Believes that the reliability and availability of scientific data and socio-economic impact assessments relating to different stocks, in different sea basins, and their respective ecosystems, as well as the improvement and standardisation of the models applied, must be one of the highest priorities of the reform; is concerned at the lack of reliable and available scientific data needed for sound scientific advice;

28. Stresses that scientific fisheries research is an essential tool for fisheries management which is indispensable both in order to identify the factors that influence the development of fishery resources, with a view to carrying out a quantitative assessment and developing models making it possible to forecast their development, and in order to improve fishing gear, vessels and working and safety conditions for fishermen, in conjunction with their knowledge and experience;

29. Calls on the Commission to make proposals on effective quality data collection for scientists, harmonised at the EU level; urges it, at the same time, to establish a framework for decision-making in data-deficient situations and to come up with scientific models on which to base multi-species fisheries management; stresses the need to involve fishermen, as well as all stakeholders, alongside scientists in contributing to the collection and analysis of information and the active development of research partnerships;

30. Notes that the main reasons for the lack of basic scientific data on the majority of stocks are inadequate reporting by Member States, the lack of adequate funding, and limited human and technical resources in the Member States; calls on the Commission, in this connection, to establish a system whereby Member States which do not fulfil their data collection and transmission obligations are sanctioned; believes that the new EMFF should provide Member States with technical and financial assistance, if necessary, for the collection and analysis of reliable data, and that adequate financial resources have to be allocated to relevant scientific research in the Member States;

31. Notes that the Union contribution to funding the acquisition, processing and availability of scientific data, in order to support knowledge-based management, does not currently exceed 50 %; calls, therefore, for the Union’s efforts in this area to be increased by raising the maximum permissible co-financing rate to at least 75 %;

32. Calls on the Commission to establish a definition of overcapacity at EU level which accommodates regional definitions, taking into account local specificities; further calls on the Commission to redefine fishing capacity in such a way that both the vessel’s fishing capacity and actual fishing effort are taken as a basis; stresses, moreover, the necessity of defining small-scale fisheries in order to dissociate them from industrial fisheries;

II Socio-economic sustainability

33. Considers living marine resources to be a common public asset which cannot be privatised; rejects the creation of private property rights for access to exploit this public asset;

34. Notes that the proposal contained in the basic regulation to introduce ‘transferable fishing concessions’ (TFCs), as the sole means of solving the problem of overcapacity, could generate anti-competitive, speculative and concentration practices, and believes that it should therefore be voluntary in nature and subject to the decision of the Member States, as is currently the case; points out that the direct experience of some Member States which have already introduced TFC systems without effective restrictions and safeguards shows a direct correlation between their introduction and an increase in the concentration of fishing rights in the hands of a few traders, and a consequent rise in the prices of fishery products; notes that, although in some countries the implementation of such a system has been followed by reductions in fleet capacity, this has been mainly at the expense of small-scale and artisanal coastal fishing, which are not the most environmentally destructive fleet segments, but the most economically endangered part of the industry and the biggest provider of jobs and economic activity in coastal regions; recalls that a reduction in fishing capacity does not necessarily mean a reduction in fishing activity, but merely the concentration of fishery resource exploitation in the hands of more economically competitive operators; emphasises that, if TFC schemes were introduced, adequate safeguards would need to be put in place in order to protect small-scale and coastal fishing;

35. Believes that priority access to fishing grounds should be offered to those who fish in a socially and environmentally responsible way; points out that a reduction in the capacity of certain fisheries can be achieved without the use of TFCs; calls on the Member States to implement the measures most appropriate to their circumstances in order to reduce capacity wherever necessary;

36. Considers that the economic viability of the fisheries sector is affected by, among other factors, the volatility of oil prices; calls on the Commission to come up with suitable measures to improve fuel efficiency in the fisheries and aquaculture sector without increasing fishing capacity, to alleviate the difficult economic situation in which European fishermen and fish farmers find themselves and to propose, in this connection, an action plan for coastal regions and islands, in particular the outermost regions;

37. Recalls that the world’s oceans, through fisheries, not only provide nutrition, food security and a livelihood for 500 million people worldwide, and at least 50 % of the animal protein consumed by 400 million people in the poorest countries, but are also crucial in mitigating climate change, as blue carbon sinks represent the largest long-term sink of carbon, provide transport and are home to some 90 % of the habitat for life on earth;

38. Reaffirms the need for strict monitoring and certification of fisheries products entering the Union market, including imports, in order to ensure that they originate from sustainable fisheries and that, in the case of imported products, they meet the same requirements with which Union producers have to comply – for example with regard to labelling, traceability, phytosanitary regulations and minimum size;

A future for jobs in the fisheries and aquaculture industry

39. Believes strongly that the reformed CFP must not be removed from the socio-economic and environmental context in which it exists; considers that the fisheries and extensive aquaculture sectors must be seen as important direct and indirect sources of job creation that vitalise the economy in our maritime regions and underpin their economy as a whole, while also contributing to food security in the EU; believes that, to this end, the CFP should help to enhance the standard of living of those communities that depend on fisheries, and grant better working conditions for fishermen, in particular through compliance with health and safety legislation and the rules established by collective labour agreements;

40. Is concerned that more than 30 % of jobs in the catching sector were lost in the past decade; considers that the reduction of fish stocks, the absence of a guaranteed minimum wage, low value at first sale and difficult working conditions are obstacles to the necessary renewal of human resources in the sector;

41. Notes with satisfaction that some studies show that considerable social and economic benefits would accrue from allowing fish stocks to increase to levels above those capable of producing MSY, including increased employment and catches and improved profitability;

42. Considers that the fisheries sector can remain sustainable if a balance between socio-economic and environmental aspects is found, and if there are sufficient adequately trained and skilled workers; believes that, in order to achieve this, careers in fishing need to become attractive and standards of qualification and training need to meet international and European requirements; calls on the Commission to promote proper training and education schemes relating to best practice and marine biology in different areas of the sector, since this could help to attract young people and to develop competitive and sustainable fisheries and a sustainable aquaculture sector; believes that there should be scope for start-up packages in order to secure a new generation of fishermen entering into small-scale fisheries;

43. Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a ‘Blue Growth initiative on sustainable growth from the oceans, seas and coasts’; considers that greater professional mobility in the fishing sector, the diversification of jobs and the identification of tools making it possible to match skills, qualifications and education programmes to the sector’s needs are important for the growth of the maritime, fisheries and aquaculture industries;

44. Considers that women’s role in the fisheries sector should be given greater legal and social recognition and recompense; insists that women in the fisheries sector should enjoy rights equal to those of men in every respect, for example as regards membership of and eligibility for the governing bodies of fisheries organisations; considers that the spouses and life partners of fishermen supporting the family undertaking should de facto be given a legal status and social benefits equivalent to those enjoyed by people with self-employed status, as provided for by Directive 2010/41/EU; considers, further, that funding from the EFF and the future EMFF should be made available for training specifically tailored to women working in the fisheries sector;

45. Fears that the reform of the CFP could, in the absence of suitable accompanying measures, lead to job losses in the short term, especially in the catching and onshore packing sectors, thus permanently affecting the fragile growth of coastal communities and islands, particularly in the outermost regions; stresses, in this connection, that there is a need for accompanying socio-economic measures, including professional cooperation and a plan for jobs, in order to offset the temporary effects of achieving the MSY targets and to make the sector more attractive to young people and provide incentives to enter it; calls on the Commission to explore and promote cooperation with the European Investment Bank in order to leverage investment in the sector;

46. Considers it necessary to promote the development of fisheries-related innovations and activities which can offset the jobs lost as a result of the adjustments arising from the reform of the CFP; urges the Commission to develop specific programmes dedicated to the development of fishing tourism and other areas of economic development linked to the sea and to fishing activity;

III Regionalisation

47. Shares the view expressed in the Commission proposal regarding the need for adaptation and specific measures based on the disparate realities of the European fishing and aquaculture industry, especially in the case of the Union’s coastal areas and outermost regions; supports the idea of establishing regionalisation as one of the main instruments of this new form of governance, in order to respond adequately to the needs of each sea basin and incentivise adherence to rules adopted at European level;

48. Believes that the reform should be an opportunity for a significant move towards a new form of cooperation between the scientific community, industry and the social partners, in order to implement the process of regionalisation;

49. Stresses the importance of the fisheries sector in relation to the socio-economic situation, employment and the promotion of economic and social cohesion in the outermost regions, which are characterised by economies with permanent structural constraints and few opportunities for economic diversification;

50. Believes that, as far as regionalisation is concerned, clear and simple rules must be established at the appropriate level, thus increasing compliance; also strongly believes that the RACs, with wider representation and more responsibilities, should further promote dialogue and cooperation between stakeholders and contribute actively to the establishment of multiannual management plans; recalls the role of the co-legislators in adopting those plans;

51. Believes, more generally, that the role of the RACs should be strengthened in terms of representativeness and power; urges the Commission, in this connection, to table a new proposal aimed at strengthening the participation of stakeholders and artisanal and small-scale fisheries, thus leading to genuine regionalisation under the CFP; welcomes, in this regard, the Commission’s proposal to set up a Black Sea Advisory Council; stresses also that the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) is not an adequate framework for the management of the Black Sea, a new Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) being necessary; calls on the Commission to intensify the dialogue with the Black Sea countries, particularly with regard to the exploitation and conservation of fish stocks; requests the creation of an Outermost Regions Advisory Council; believes that, following the Commission’s guidance on the principles of regionalisation and subsidiarity, consideration should be given to setting up an RAC for the outermost regions, taking into account the sensitive nature of their specific features; emphasises that the RACs must advise Parliament and the Council on the adoption of multiannual plans, and involve scientists in the adoption of their decisions;

52. Believes that regionalisation of the CFP must reflect the geographical scale of the fisheries being managed, with objectives and principles being adopted by the EU co-legislators and the details of the management measures being decided at the regional level as locally as possible, meaning that for some fisheries this would be across several Member States, whereas for others it could be within part of a single Member State; recognises that new structures may need to be created in order to enable such a system to function;

53. Believes that it is important to place greater value on certain segments of the European fisheries sector, for example small-scale coastal fishing, which in some geographical areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea, helps to secure wealth and jobs;

54. Is also convinced that a more holistic and integrated view of the marine environment is needed, and that marine spatial planning at the local and regional level, involving all stakeholders, is a necessary tool in order to implement a genuine ecosystem approach to management;

55. Notes that effective planning at a regional or local level will facilitate the most appropriate use of marine resources, taking into consideration local conditions, market demands, competing uses, the need for protected areas, the designation of specific areas where only certain best practice fishing gear are allowed, etc.;

56. Stresses that an ambitious and real reform of the CFP can be facilitated if sufficient financial resources are made available for the next 10 years, in order to support all the reform measures and tackle the socio-economic and environmental problems that may arise; rejects any calls from Member States to seek to reduce the level of EU funds allocated to fisheries and aquaculture;

57. Emphasises, in particular, the importance of synergies between the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the ENPI and the EFF for planning in coastal areas; believes that macro-regional strategies, European territorial cooperation programmes and sea basin programmes are relevant tools for implementing integrated development strategies for the EU’s coastal territories;

58. Stresses the need for the future EFF to offer grants for the renewal and modernisation of fishing fleets on the grounds of safety, environmental protection and fuel economy;

59. Stresses that new funds should be allocated for new policies, objectives or priorities with an impact on the marine environment; rejects the financing of these new priorities, objectives or policies (such as the Integrated Maritime Policy) at the expense of the funds required for the fisheries policy;

60. Recalls the obligation laid down in Article 208 TFEU whereby the EU must take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies it implements which are likely to affect developing countries, including the CFP;

61. Stresses that imported fisheries and aquaculture products should be subject to the same environmental, hygiene and social standards as European domestic production, including full ‘sea-to-table’ traceability, and takes the view that developing countries will need financial and technical assistance in order both to reach the same standards and to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing more effectively;

62. Stresses that any access to fisheries resources in developing countries must comply not only with Article 62 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regarding surplus stocks, but also with Articles 69 and 70 on the rights of land-locked and geographically disadvantaged states within the region, especially with respect to the nutritional and socio-economic needs of local populations;

63. Reiterates the basic condition of surplus, as set out in the UNCLOS, when accessing fish stocks in third countries’ waters; emphasises the importance of properly and scientifically establishing the surplus; stresses that the CFP must provide for transparency and the exchange of all relevant information between the EU and partner third countries concerning the total fishing effort for the stocks concerned by national and, where relevant, foreign vessels;

64. Reiterates that the future CFP must be guided by principles of good governance, including transparency and access to information, in accordance with the Aarhus Convention, and the evaluation of sustainable partnership agreements (SFAs);

65. Emphasises that the EU should promote sustainable resource management in third countries, and therefore calls for it to step up action to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities; stresses that sustainable fisheries agreements should be more focused on scientific research and data collection, monitoring, control and surveillance; believes that, to this end, the EU should direct the appropriate support in terms of financial, technical and human resources to partner third countries;

66. Reiterates that the CFP must be coherent with development and environment policies, including the protection of marine ecosystems; calls, therefore, for action to improve and expand scientific knowledge, as well as for stronger international cooperation in order to ensure better performance;

67. Reiterates that all EU nationals must abide, wherever they operate, by the rules and regulations of the CFP, including its environmental and social regulations;

68. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission.

(1)

OJ C 271E, 7.11.2002, p. 67.

(2)

OJ L 358, 31.12.2002, p. 59.

(3)

OJ C 187E, 24.7.2008, p. 228.

(4)

OJ C 305E, 18.12.2008, p. 271.

(5)

OJ C 68E, 21.3.2008, p. 26.

(6)

OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p. 19.

(7)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0009.

(8)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0065.

(9)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0317.

(10)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0373.

(11)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0039.

(12)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0052.

(13)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0234.


OPINION of the Committee on Development (22.5.2012)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy – Overarching Communication

(2011/2290(INI))

Rapporteur: Isabella Lövin

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recalls that an in-depth reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is needed, due to its failure to meet fully its objectives, internally and externally, during the years it has been operational;

2.  Recalls the obligation in Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which stipulates that the EU must take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries, including, in particular, the Common Fisheries Policy;

3.  Emphasises that sustainable fishing and maintaining stocks above levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) will be of huge environmental, social and economic advantage, as the environment will not be degraded, fishing communities would have a secure future, and the fisheries sector would be profitable without need of public support. Stresses that applying the ecosystem and precautionary approach and best scientific data in drawing up multiannual fisheries management plans and ensuring that the CFP contributes to achieving good environmental status in the marine environment by 2020, in line with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, are factors that are vital in ensuring the long-term environmental, economic and social sustainability of the EU fishing sector and to meet objectives of the EU 2020 strategy;

4.  Recalls that the world’s oceans not only provide nutrition, food security and livelihood for 500 million people worldwide and at least 50 % of their animal protein for 400 million people in the poorest countries through fisheries, but are also crucial in climate change mitigation, as blue carbon sinks represent the largest long-term sink of carbon, provide transport, and are home to some 90 % of the habitat for life on earth;

5.  Is concerned at the heavy dependence of EU markets on imports of fisheries and aquaculture products, as more than 60% of all fisheries products used in the EU are imported to a significant extent from developing countries; stresses that the best option for reducing dependence on imports is to recover and maintain European fish stocks to a level above those capable of producing MSY;

6.  Stresses that imported fisheries and aquaculture products should be subject to the same environmental, hygiene and social standards as European domestic production, including full ‘sea-to-table’ traceability, and is of the view that developing countries will need financial and technical assistance in order to reach the same standards but also to more effectively combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing;

7.  Opposes the adoption of Transferable Fishing Concessions (TFC) schemes, especially in RFMOs and in international waters, since they limit the scope of developing countries to develop their own fisheries sectors;

8.  Opposes the privatisation of marine resources; considers it unacceptable to propose a market for the transfer of fishing rights between private companies;

9.  Stresses that any access to fisheries resources in developing countries must respect not only Article 62 of UNCLOS regarding surplus stocks but also Articles 69 and 70 on the rights of land-locked and geographically disadvantaged States within the region, especially with respect to the nutritional and socioeconomic needs of local populations;

10. Reiterates the basic condition of surplus in UNCLOS when accessing fish stocks in third countries’ waters; emphasises the importance of properly and scientifically establishing the surplus; stresses that the CFP must provide for transparency and exchange of all relevant information between the EU and partner third countries concerning the total fishing effort for the stocks concerned by national and, where relevant, foreign vessels;

11. Reiterates that the future CFP must be guided by principles of good governance including, inter alia, transparency and access to information in accordance with the Aarhus Convention, including to the evaluations of Sustainable Partnership Agreements (SFAs);

12. Emphasises that the EU should promote sustainable resource management in third countries, and therefore calls on the EU to step up actions to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities; stresses that Sustainable Fisheries Agreements should be more focused on scientific research and data collection, monitoring, control and surveillance; to this end, the EU should direct the appropriate financial, technical and human resources support to partner third countries;

13. Reiterates that the CFP must be coherent with development and environment policies, including the protection of marine ecosystems; calls, therefore, for action to improve and expand scientific knowledge, as well as for stronger international cooperation in order to ensure better performance;

14. Reiterates that all EU nationals must abide, wherever they operate, by the rules and regulations of the CFP, including its environmental and social regulations.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

14.5.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Ricardo Cortés Lastra, Véronique De Keyser, Nirj Deva, Catherine Grèze, Eva Joly, Gay Mitchell, Norbert Neuser, Bill Newton Dunn, Maurice Ponga, Michèle Striffler, Alf Svensson, Eleni Theocharous, Ivo Vajgl

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Kriton Arsenis, Emer Costello, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Krzysztof Lisek, Isabella Lövin

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Ioan Enciu


OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development (7.5.2012)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy – Overarching Communication

(2011/2290(INI))

Rapporteur: Nuno Teixeira

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Believes that the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, taking an even-handed approach aimed at mutual reinforcement, must focus on the environmental, social, economic and cultural pillars of fisheries, given the need to take preventive measures regarding environmental protection in order to encourage sustainable development compatible with the principle of subsidiarity and with the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth called for by Europe 2020; maintains that the reformed policy must be coordinated more closely with other European policies such as cohesion policy, environmental policy, agricultural policy and external policy, and that future international sustainable fisheries agreements must be consistent with it; points out to this end the importance of tools such as the integrated maritime policy or the macro-regional approach which can offer closer integration;

2.  Stresses that this reform could do much to make fishing sustainable by preserving ecosystems, supplying high-quality healthy fishery products, and promoting prosperity in coastal regions, profitable production and processing industries, and more attractive and safer jobs;

3.  Believes that regional and local authorities should be involved in the negotiation of fisheries agreements with third countries;

4.  Suggests that fisheries need to be managed on the basis of differentiated marine biogeographical regions and in keeping with their characteristics, by applying an ecosystem approach, since this is essential in order to make fisheries sustainable while providing for equal opportunities within the limits of the resources available;

5.  Maintains that, following on from the Commission’s guidelines on the principles of regionalisation and subsidiarity, and taking into account the differences within each marine biogeographical region, a regional advisory council should be established for the outermost regions;

6.  Points out the importance of efficient maritime spatial planning for the sustainable management of fisheries resources in the context of the spatial claims on the marine and coastal environment of other sectors, such as wind farms, biodiversity protection, aquaculture, ports, maritime transport, tourism, defence and extractive industries;

7.  Stresses that meaningful decentralisation has to be based on long-term management plans with the potential to adapt to regional specificities and the active participation of all relevant stakeholders in local and regional co-management, while respecting the fact that the overarching fisheries management objectives of the CFP fall within the competence of Parliament and the Council;

8.  Calls for greater regionalisation in fisheries management, having regard to the principle of subsidiarity; also calls for greater dialogue to be encouraged among the various entities involved in the sector, both upstream and downstream, with particular regard to responsibility for cooperating across regions, the international level included, by providing incentives and support for the establishment of international clusters; believes that the Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) must assume greater responsibility in implementing the common fisheries policy; proposes that the RACs be consulted upstream by the Commission within the framework of the implementation of the common fisheries policy and the management plans;

9.  Notes that the outermost regions, which are affected by a whole range of structural constraints that are fully recognised in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and apply permanently, require environmentally, economically and socially sustainable measures to minimise their disadvantages compared to regions in mainland Europe, specifically as regards the additional costs incurred in selling their fishery products and, in particular, the costs of transporting them to mainland Europe;

10. Believes that fisheries management should be based on scientific recommendations and expert advice, making use of partnerships between the research field and stakeholders such as the fisheries sector, and calls for reinforced regional data collection programmes and national research programmes providing for regional coordination among Member States; believes that Member States should be encouraged to support research projects that could facilitate the realisation of such regional or national programmes, and that the regions should be more closely involved in the implementation of fisheries agreements with third countries seeking to ensure the sustainable use of resources;

11. Points to the need to move gradually towards maximum sustainable yield (MSY) as the principle for fisheries management, supported by monitored scientific quality assessments providing a rationale for the appropriate management options; recognises that, in order to achieve MSY, it is essential to pursue the objective of adjusting fishing effort according to the resources situation and to restructure the sector and guarantee its sustainability; this implies the need for a policy of continuing structural support for the fisheries sector;

12. Reiterates that all development in marine and coastal areas must respect environmental legislation such as the marine strategy framework directive and the biodiversity protection directives, as sound environmental status should be a precondition for all activities in marine and coastal regions;

13. Points to the importance of the multifunctionality of fisheries for coastal regions; stresses the need for specific measures for certain regions, such as the island regions and outermost regions; underlines the importance of adapting restrictive measures in accordance with the state of fish stocks, of support for sustainable fishing such as small-scale fishing fleets where stocks are not threatened, and of promoting extensive and sustainable aquaculture, in view of the support this entails for SMEs in the sector, among other factors; advocates measures to restructure the labour market, support measures for vocational training, retraining, and diversification, young people’s access to careers in fishing, the renewal and modernisation of fishing vessels, and incentives for producer and interbranch organisations;

14. Points out that some European territories do not share the sea basins of the European continent; believes, therefore, that the outermost regions should be grouped together and represented on an advisory committee created specifically for this purpose, and that restrictive measures under the common fisheries policy need to be adapted to the actual state of fish stocks in those regions; insists that for this to be possible the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) must be able to finance data collection programmes on the status of stocks; believes that regional and local authorities must be involved in the negotiation of sustainable fisheries agreements with third countries;

15. Maintains, therefore, that a financial instrument to support the sector must remain in place and continue to be based on the principle of intensifying aid for measures cofinanced in the outermost regions, thereby helping preserve the specific arrangements designed to offset the additional costs incurred in fishing activities and in selling the products thereof, taking into account the structural constraints affecting the fisheries sector in the outermost regions;

16. Is concerned over the Commission’s proposal to establish transferable fishing concessions, as this scheme could lead to fishing rights being concentrated in the hands of a small number of operators and thus result in the disappearance of numerous small-scale fisheries;

17. Stresses that the transferable quota system could lead to a scenario of injustice in certain regions, favouring those with more resources for acquiring rights; considers that it is important not to weaken small-scale fishing or fishing in sensitive regions, as the economic, social and biological sustainability of the coastal areas concerned would otherwise be jeopardised, particularly in regions where fishing is the main activity and there is great dependence on the sector;

18. Points again to the need, in certain regions, to continue improving working and safety conditions by improving, renovating and modernising the fishing fleet, this being also a sine qua non for attracting young people into fishing;

19. Emphasises the importance of the EMFF for implementing the reformed policy and for the balanced and inclusive territorial development of fishing areas, and stresses that its funding must be commensurate with the Europe 2020 strategy and the common strategic framework, while taking account of the specific territorial objectives;

20. Emphasises, in particular, the importance of synergies between the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) for planning in coastal areas; believes that macro-regional strategies, European Territorial Cooperation programmes and sea basin programmes are relevant tools for implementing integrated development strategies for the EU’s coastal territories;

21. Emphasises that the sustainability and viability of the sector constitute the key element of this reform, which is dovetailed into the Europe 2020 goals; believes that more efficient use of resources is vital in order to secure growth and employment in the EU, thus helping to make the fisheries sector robust and sustainable, reduce food insecurity, and enhance the quality of life for this generation and those to come;

22. Points again to the need to adjust the present system for accessing waters, paying particular attention to regions in sea basins with few fishery resources, so as to ensure their sustainability and contribute to the social and economic sustainability of fishing communities that are unable to operate outside their exclusive economic zone;

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

26.4.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

35

0

1

Members present for the final vote

François Alfonsi, Luís Paulo Alves, Jean-Paul Besset, Victor Boştinaru, John Bufton, Alain Cadec, Nikos Chrysogelos, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Danuta Maria Hübner, Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenova, María Irigoyen Pérez, Seán Kelly, Constanze Angela Krehl, Petru Constantin Luhan, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Vladimír Maňka, Iosif Matula, Erminia Mazzoni, Jens Nilsson, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Jan Olbrycht, Wojciech Michał Olejniczak, Markus Pieper, Tomasz Piotr Poręba, Monika Smolková, Ewald Stadler, Georgios Stavrakakis, Nuno Teixeira, Joachim Zeller

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Jens Geier, Maurice Ponga, Elisabeth Schroedter, Patrice Tirolien, Giommaria Uggias

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Julie Girling


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

11.7.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

21

2

2

Members present for the final vote

Antonello Antinoro, Kriton Arsenis, Alain Cadec, Chris Davies, João Ferreira, Carmen Fraga Estévez, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Dolores García-Hierro Caraballo, Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, Ian Hudghton, Iliana Malinova Iotova, Werner Kuhn, Isabella Lövin, Gabriel Mato Adrover, Guido Milana, Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, Crescenzio Rivellini, Ulrike Rodust, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Struan Stevenson, Isabelle Thomas, Nils Torvalds, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Jean-Paul Besset, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Diane Dodds, Barbara Matera, Nikolaos Salavrakos, Antolín Sánchez Presedo

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