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Procedure : 2009/2106(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0014/2010

Texts tabled :

A7-0014/2010

Debates :

PV 25/02/2010 - 4
CRE 25/02/2010 - 4

Votes :

PV 25/02/2010 - 7.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2010)0039

Texts adopted
WORD 144k
Thursday, 25 February 2010 - Brussels Final edition
Green Paper on reform of the common fisheries policy
P7_TA(2010)0039A7-0014/2010

European Parliament resolution of 25 February 2010 on the Green Paper on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (2009/2106(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   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(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2002 on the Commission Green Paper on the future of the common fisheries policy(2) ,

–   having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982,

–   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 the EIFAC Code of Practice for Recreational Fisheries, adopted in May 2008,

–   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 the EU's renewed Sustainable Development Strategy as adopted by the European Council on 15/16 June 2006,

–   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)(3) ,

–   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(4) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication on rights-based management tools in fisheries (COM(2007)0073), and to Parliament's resolution of 10 April 2008 on rights-based management tools in fisheries(5) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Implementing sustainability in EU fisheries through maximum sustainable yield’ (COM(2006)0360), and to Parliament's resolution of 6 September 2007 on the implementation of sustainable fishing in the EU on the basis of maximum sustainable yield(6) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘A policy to reduce unwanted by-catches and eliminate discards in European fisheries’ (COM(2007)0136) and Parliament's resolution of 31 January 2008 on a policy to reduce unwanted by-catches and eliminate discards in European fisheries(7) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 24 April 2009 on ‘Governance within the CFP: the European Parliament, the Regional Advisory Councils and other actors’(8) and 6 September 2006 on the 2006-2008 Action Plan for simplifying and improving the Common Fisheries Policy(9) ,

–   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(10) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 6 July 2005 on the proposal for a Council regulation on the European Fisheries Fund(11) , 15 June 2006 on inshore fishing and the problems encountered by inshore fishing communities(12) , 15 December 2005 on women's networks: fishing, farming and diversification(13) and 28 September 2006 on improving the economic situation in the fishing industry(14) ,

–   having regard to Court of Auditors‘ Special Report No 7/2007 on the control, inspection and sanction systems relating to the rules on conservation of Community fisheries resources, to Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing(15) , Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008 of 29 September 2008 concerning authorisations for fishing activities of Community fishing vessels outside Community waters and the access of third-country vessels to Community waters(16) and Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy(17) , and to Parliament's resolutions of 23 February 2005(18) , 15 February 2007(19) , 5 June 2008(20) , 10 April 2008(21) and 22 April 2009(22) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2007 on the common organisation of the market in the fisheries and aquaculture products sector(23) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Launching a debate on a Community approach towards Ecolabelling schemes for fisheries products’ (COM(2005)0275), and to Parliament's resolution of 7 September 2006 on the same subject(24) ,

–   having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and to Parliament's resolution of 7 May 2009 on Parliament's new role and responsibilities in implementing the Lisbon Treaty(25) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 12 July 2007 on a future Maritime Policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas(26) and 2 September 2008 on fisheries and aquaculture in the context of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe(27) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2009 entitled ‘2050: The future begins today – recommendations for the EU's future integrated policy on climate change’(28) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2009 on the EU strategy for the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change(29) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 December 2008 on the adoption of a European Cormorant Management Plan to minimise the increasing impact of cormorants on fish stocks, fishing and aquaculture(30) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communications on an integrated maritime policy, in particular the communications entitled ‘Guidelines for an integrated approach to maritime policy: towards best practice in integrated maritime governments and stakeholder consultation’ (COM(2008)0395), ‘Roadmap for maritime spatial planning: achieving common principles in the EU’ (COM(2008)0791) and ‘Developing the International dimension of the Integrated maritime policy of the European Union’ (COM(2009)0536), and to the recent progress report on the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy (COM(2009)0540),

–   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 Green Paper entitled ‘Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy’ (COM(2009)0163),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A7-0014/2010),

A.   having regard to the fundamental necessity of conserving fish stocks if the fisheries sector is to be able to supply fish to the public and the food balance in both individual Member States and the EU as a whole, as well as its major contribution to the socio-economic wellbeing of coastal communities, local development, employment, the preservation and creation of upstream and downstream economic activity, the supply of fresh fish and the preservation of local cultural traditions,

B.   whereas the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea should consistently be used as the basis for running the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), with particular reference to its provisions on international management of the fisheries sector,

C.   whereas the reform of the CFP must take account of EU policy in the field of the environment, as enshrined in the Treaties, and of the Bali Declaration of December 2007,

D.   whereas the European Union (EU) is an entity governed by international law which, under the provisions of its Treaties and operating rules, is specifically intended to guarantee the economic, social and political integration of its policies, including the CFP,

E.   whereas the basic aim of the CFP, as laid down in Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002, is to ensure the sustainable development and economic and social viability of the fisheries sector and the conservation of marine resources, which is a fundamental premise for the exercise of fishing activity now and in the future,

F.   whereas the CFP has failed in its basic aim and has demonstrated that a top-down over-centralised policy does not work,

G.   having regard to the diversity of Europe's seas and the specific nature of the fleet and fishing practices in each of those seas,

H.   whereas in its resolution of 3 November 1976, in particular Annex VII thereto, the Council provided for action to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities,

I.   whereas Article 1(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 stipulates that the CFP covers the conservation, management and exploitation of living aquatic resources, aquaculture, and the processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products where such activities are practised on the territory of Member States or in Community waters or by Community fishing vessels or, without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the flag State, nationals of Member States,

J.   whereas 88% of Community stocks are being fished beyond MSY and 30% of those stocks are outside safe biological limits, which has severe consequences for the viability of the industry,

K.   whereas implementation of the CFP interacts directly with areas as vast as environmental protection, climate change, safety, public health, consumer protection and regional development, internal and international trade, relations with third countries and development cooperation, and whereas it is essential to guarantee proper and careful harmonisation between all these areas, whilst fully respecting the principle of subsidiarity,

L.   whereas, in accordance with Directive 2008/56/EC, Member States should take the necessary measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status in the marine waters of the European Union by the year 2020 at the latest, which will require the regulation of fishing activities under the CFP,

M.   whereas there is a clear disparity in income between people living from fishing and other sections of the population; whereas it is necessary to guarantee the former an equitable standard of living, particularly by increasing their individual earnings,

N.   whereas the current geopolitical, economic and social situation and the drawing-up of a strategy and action plan for the preservation and sustainable development of the oceans and seas in Europe and the world (integrated maritime policy – IMP) justify our commitment to establishing an environmentally and socio-economically sustainable CFP with respect to which Parliament's decision-making powers are strengthened as provided for in the Lisbon Treaty,

O.   whereas fishing is one of the foremost activities that make use of the sea and its resources, and should thus be considered a key part of Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) management,

P.   whereas the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which brings together experts from all over the world, has assessed the impact of climate change and concluded that many ecosystems are under threat owing to an unprecedented combination of factors and disturbances associated with climate change,

Q.   whereas EU primary law and, recently, the TFEU have recognised the nature of the constraints affecting the outermost regions (ORs) which, by reason of their permanent and pervasive character and joint presence, differentiate those regions from the Union's other regions with geographical disadvantages and/or population problems,

R.   whereas, in order to be more inclusive and effective, the CFP should be organised in such a way as to take a multidisciplinary approach to involving all groups directly or indirectly connected with the sector, such as commercial and recreational fishermen, aquaculture producers, the processing sector, retailers, vessel owners, the representatives of those groups, civil society (including environmental and development NGOs), the scientific community and institutional stakeholders,

S.   whereas this new reform of the CFP should already bring fisheries policy more closely into line with the single market rules,

T.   whereas, despite some progress made following the revision of the CFP in 2002, serious problems relating to fleet overcapacity and the scarcity of some fishery resources still remain, vary in extent from one region to another, and have worsened in recent years, leading to serious adverse impacts on non-target species and the marine environment in general and leaving ecosystems in poor condition,

U.   whereas problems such as overcapacity and scarcity of fishing resources should not be seen as endemic or universal given the huge variations between the various fleets and fisheries, and whereas solutions to such problems should be developed and implemented in a manner which recognises wide regional variations across the EU,

V.   whereas our seas are capable of supporting greater volumes of fish than is presently the case, and whereas if stocks were allowed to recover, limits could be set that would allow significantly greater quantities of fish to be caught while maintaining sustainability,

W.   whereas levels of discards are unacceptably high and in extreme cases are claimed by fishermen to amount to as much as 80% of their catches,

X.   whereas the conservation and management policy has been the greatest failure of the CFP and has not been amended or updated since its creation, and whereas it is therefore necessary to focus on designing a new fisheries conservation and management model,

Y.   whereas the European Union, by virtue of commitments made within international fora, has defined the objectives of its fisheries policy as management by means of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), the precautionary approach and the ecosystem approach,

Z.   whereas the maintenance of modern, competitive, environment-friendly and safe fishing fleets is not incompatible with a reduction in fishing capacity, which has in fact been carried out to varying extents by various Member States, on the basis of reliable scientific research, to bring that capacity more closely into line with the availability of resources, and whereas stakeholders have advocated measures that will not depress the sector but will have positive and gradual effects, such as efforts to increase fish biomass, reductions in the number of fishing days, the establishment of biological protection zones and the upgrading small-scale fisheries,

AA.   whereas fishing is one of the economic activities most affected by the impoverishment of fish stocks caused by the poor state of health of marine ecosystems, and whereas its future sustainability will depend on the ability to reverse this trend by restoring health and balance to the marine ecosystem as a whole; whereas the sector itself must therefore contribute to efforts to restore a balance that will allow future sustainability and ensure increased viability in the medium and long term,

AB.   whereas fishing is essential to the livelihood of many coastal communities, which have engaged in this activity for several generations and have thus also contributed to the economic and social dynamic of the regions concerned and the EU's cultural heritage, and whereas fisheries policy must be developed in such a way as to protect livelihoods in all of Europe's traditional fishing regions by respecting historic rights,

AC.   whereas historic rights have previously been protected by the principle of relative stability and, regardless of the shape of future management regimes, the benefits to coastal communities accrued from relative stability must remain with these communities,

AD.   whereas the small-scale fishing fleet and areas that are heavily dependent on fishing require different treatment and greater socio-economic support under the new CFP,

AE.   whereas, in spite of their low level of representation in the catching subsector, women are an important group in view of the fundamental role they play in areas directly linked to the CFP, such as aquaculture, processing, marketing, research, business management, training and maritime safety,

AF.   whereas, as has already been recognised in the agricultural sector, women also suffer inequalities in the fisheries sector in the form of lower wages (or indeed no pay at all), fewer social benefits, and in some cases obstacles to their full participation in governing bodies in certain communities or associations,

AG.   whereas fisheries and aquaculture products are an important and increasingly used source of the high-quality proteins and healthy fats that are essential for the EU's food needs,

AH.   whereas the Community fisheries fleet and sector are a source of high-quality food and play an essential role in respect of employment, social cohesion and dynamism in the EU's coastal, remote, outermost and island regions,

AI.   whereas the placing on the market of fishery products carrying accredited food certification from the point of catch through fattening or processing (depending on the industry involved) to marketing should be based on criteria of environmental sustainability and should contribute to greater awareness of sustainable fishing among both producers and consumers,

AJ.   whereas the FAO has carried out significant work in the field of the ecological labelling of fishery and aquaculture products, and whereas in March 2005 the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) drew up guidelines on this topic that should be considered by the European Commission,

AK.   whereas action to promote the sustainable development of a given region should enhance the interaction between its natural environmental and human components and promote the quality of life of its coastal communities; whereas a policy for fisheries must start from the assumption of interdependence between the welfare of these communities and the sustainability of ecosystems of which they are an integral part,

AL.   whereas small-scale fleets and those of a larger-scale, industrial nature have very different characteristics and problems that cannot be fitted into a uniform model and thus have to be treated differently,

AM.  whereas it is now generally accepted that there are a number of instruments offering a different approach to fisheries management which can usefully supplement the existing systems and play a significant role in the Community's management of the sector,

AN.  whereas some Member States have already instituted their own schemes, such as conservation credit schemes, aimed at encouraging positive innovation in the industry, and whereas such actions taken at Member State level can be adjusted to take account of local circumstances in cooperation with the stakeholders,

AO. whereas a study of fisheries management models should be the subject of careful consideration, taking account of the varying economic, social and fisheries-related circumstances in the different Member States without disregarding the role of subsidiarity, with a view to ensuring balanced global management of resources and promoting proportional access for the various fleets,

AP.   whereas the activity of the fishing industry is concentrated above all in economically fragile regions - the majority of them being Objective 1 regions - and whereas the crisis situation in the industry is having a profound impact on the economic and social cohesion of these regions,

AQ.  whereas the value of no-take marine reserves as one efficient tool for protecting marine ecosystems and providing fisheries management benefits is widely recognised, provided that their establishment and protection meet a number of minimum standards,

AR.  whereas the greatest possible focus should be placed on the strategic importance of aquaculture and its development at Community level, both in socio-economic and environmental terms and with regard to food security; whereas, however, the industry must prevent damage to the local marine environment or the depletion of wild stocks, especially small pelagics caught as food for many species in aquaculture,

AS.  whereas shellfishing activities form an integral part of the sector and are of considerable importance in certain coastal areas and, in the case of shellfishing on foot, are generally performed by women; whereas these activities should be brought fully within the scope of the new CFP,

AT.   whereas the EU will need to coordinate its development policy and the CFP and devote more human, technical and budgetary resources to the fisheries sector in the context of its development cooperation policy with third countries,

AU.  whereas Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) and fisheries partnership agreements should play a vital and increasingly important role in the use and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources in Community and international waters, although several recent performance reviews of RFMOs have identified serious weaknesses in their functioning, leading the UN General Assembly to call for urgent measures to improve their performance,

AV.  whereas regional management bodies should play a vital and important role in the use and sustainable exploitation of fisheries within the Community's own waters, allowing management decisions to be taken at a more appropriate level involving the relevant stakeholders,

AW.  whereas the CFP's external policy is essential to guarantee supplies to industry and consumers, since over one-third of Community production comes from international fishing grounds and waters coming within the EEZs of third countries,

AX.  whereas illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing constitutes one of the most serious threats to the sustainable exploitation of living aquatic resources and jeopardises the very foundations of the CFP, as well as international efforts to promote better ocean governance, and whereas Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system, which is shortly to be implemented, is intended to further promote monitoring management and coordination,

AY.  whereas 60% of the fish consumed within the European Union is caught outside EU waters, the proportion being so high partly because the CFP has failed to maintain the levels of fish stocks necessary to meet demand from EU citizens,

AZ.  whereas the Commission has already acknowledged that products have entered the Community market which do not respect the minimum sizes laid down in the EU, owing notably to the failure to implement the marketing rules for frozen products,

BA.  whereas many of the jobs in the fisheries sector are currently being filled by workers from third countries, as this work is becoming less and less attractive for young people in the Community,

BB.  whereas the sharp decline in the prices for most fish species in recent years has had a very negative impact on producers‘ incomes, whilst producers have, at the same time, seen increases in their production costs that they cannot pass on in the initial sales price,

BC.  whereas there has been a shift in the market structures for fisheries products and a move away from an acceptable balance between producers and buyers to a situation that may increasingly be seen as an oligopoly by the latter, as a result of the concentration of distribution and purchasing chains,

BD.  whereas many of the exports by third countries are creating a serious problem for the competitiveness of the Community sector, as they do not comply with the standards and control systems that apply to Community producers and consumers, which increase Community producers‘ production costs,

BE.  whereas, in the longer term, this situation of falling prices does not benefit the consumer either,

General

1.  Welcomes the Commission's initiative of submitting the Green Paper, which is forming the basis for a consultation procedure and a major discussion on the constraints and challenges facing the current CFP, with a view to an urgent and far-reaching reform thereof, and calls for stakeholders‘ views also to be taken into account;

2.  Considers that the current reform is crucial for the future of the European fishing industry and that any failure to adopt and implement a radical reform could result in there being neither fish nor a fishing industry by the time of the next reform;

3.  Agrees with the Green Paper that economic and social sustainability require productive fish stocks and functioning marine ecosystems, making ecological sustainability a basic premise for the economic and social future of European fisheries;

4.  Welcomes also the main principles set out by the Commission with a view to an effective and successful reform of the CFP, in particular the need to give more responsibility to the sector, based on the establishment of conditions favourable to good fishing practice, to adjust and provide long-term fisheries management models in order to create tools that will complement and improve the traditional single system of TACs and quotas currently in force and to address the problem of fleet overcapacity;

5.  Welcomes the Commission's analysis of the five structural failings of the existing CFP, and agrees with its view that five aspects must be given central importance in the reform, namely: the deep-rooted problem of fleet overcapacity; imprecise policy objectives resulting in insufficient guidance for decisions and implementation; a decision-making system that encourages a short-term focus; a framework that does not give sufficient responsibility to the industry; and a lack of political will to ensure compliance, together with poor compliance by the industry;

6.  Welcomes the recognition of the need to implement a more simplified framework in order to ensure that the actions to be adopted produce optimum results, and consequently underscores the importance of stepping up efforts to achieve this;

7.  Reiterates that the main objective of the CFP should be to guarantee the future of both fisheries resources and fishermen by ensuring the recovery of fish populations and restoring the economic viability of the sector;

8.  Reiterates that the CFP must ensure the long-term sustainability of fisheries if the industry is to be able to contribute to safeguarding the socio-economic viability of coastal communities, guaranteeing the supply of fish to the public and food sovereignty and security and improving living conditions for fishermen, thus ensuring the sustainable development of coastal areas that depend most heavily on fishing;

9.  Believes that fisheries management must be designed to minimise the impact of fishing activities on associated and dependent species and that major decisions should be preceded by an environmental impact assessment, as is the case with most other industries;

10.  Stresses that the current CFP is one of the most integrated Community policies, which gives the Community broad powers, and therefore responsibilities, for the management and conservation of marine resources, and calls for stakeholders to be more closely involved;

11.  Stresses that, despite having been extensively reformed in 2002, the CFP is, 27 years after its establishment, faced with serious problems in certain fisheries whose main features are overfishing, overcapacity in some sections of the fleet, which needs to be clearly defined, energy inefficiency and waste, a lack of reliable research on fish stocks, as well as other factors, such as the economic and social decline currently affecting the sector, the globalisation of the fisheries and aquaculture market, the consequences of climate change and the progressive impoverishment of resources caused by the poor state of health of marine ecosystems;

12.  Believes 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 that is incompatible with a vision that creates a hierarchy among them according to an a priori definition of priorities;

13.  Stresses that safeguarding the viability of fishing, which is a strategic industry, and fishing communities and preserving the sustainability of marine ecosystems are not irreconcilable objectives;

14.  Considers that problems such as overfishing, overcapacity, overinvestment and waste should not be considered as endemic or universal but rather as specific to particular fleets and fisheries, and that they should be remedied in a manner which recognises these specificities;

15.  Points out that Parliament has in previous terms drawn attention to the fact that CFP rules were not being sufficiently complied with by all operators and has repeatedly called on the competent bodies in the EU and all Member States to improve controls, harmonise inspection and sanction criteria and catch-reporting systems, ensure the transparency of inspection findings and strengthen the Community inspection systems in order to create a culture of compliance by involving the main stakeholders and give them greater responsibilities;

16.  Notes that the new control regulation contains a number of measures which are susceptible to criticism in terms of their success and cost-effectiveness in the context of the reform of the CFP;

17.  Stresses that many of the problems faced by the CFP stem from a failure to implement the principles of good governance;

18.  Emphasises that, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament is no longer merely a consultation body but will become a co-legislator in the fisheries sector, sharing decision-making power with the Council except as regards the setting of TACs and quotas;

19.  Points out that RFMOs and fisheries partnership agreements should play a vital role in the governance and application of good fishing practice within their respective areas of competence and fields of application and that the EU position should be to promote the highest possible standards of fisheries conservation and management;

20.  Considers that regional management bodies within EU waters, involving the Member States and relevant stakeholders, should be created to play a key role in the governance and application of good fishing practice within the respective EU jurisdictions;

21.  Stresses that the CFP reform process should be finalised at the beginning of 2011, in order to ensure that it is duly taken into account in discussions on the forthcoming EU financial framework and that the reformed CFP is fully implemented;

22.  Stresses that scientific knowledge and applied technical research into the needs of the sector should be taken into account in order to minimise adverse impacts on marine ecosystems and that a policy for the conservation and sustainable management of fisheries resources must be established and progressively refined, with the involvement and participation of cooperative sector research workers as observers and full representatives on Regional Advisory Councils (RACs); stresses, furthermore, that any lack of accurate scientific data on fisheries and marine ecosystems should not hinder the adoption of a precautionary approach under the new common fisheries policy;

23.  Emphasises that, notwithstanding the degree of complexity of some procedures for modifying fisheries management models and the difficulties, in particular of a legal nature, which may appear in this process, these are not insuperable, as is shown by the successful application of other management models in other parts of the world; calls on the Commission to examine carefully if new management models could be introduced to complement existing fisheries management models;

24.  Draws attention to the fact that, despite the decommissioning measures taken, overcapacity remains a serious problem and some sections of the European fleet, especially the small-scale fleet, have not been sufficiently renewed and there are still vessels which are obsolete or very old and need to be modernised or replaced with a view to ensuring greater on-board safety and a lesser environmental impact without increasing fishing capacity;

25.  Stresses the importance of fishermen's associations, producers‘ organisations and other associations in the sector to the smooth operation and development of the sector;

26.  Emphasises that the success of sustainable aquaculture will depend on an enterprise-friendly environment at national and/or local level and that Member States and regional authorities should be able to count on a suitable Community framework for the harmonious development of the sector and the realisation of its full wealth and job creation potential that gives preference to fishermen whose activities are in decline;

27.  Stresses that population growth in the European Union and future EU enlargements, as well as climate change factors, may have a considerable impact on the current fishing and fish-farming management structure;

28.  Is surprised to note that the crucial role of fishing ports in the fisheries sector is not mentioned in the Green Paper, given that ports are major actors in fish landing, storage and distribution facilities; calls therefore on the Commission to highlight the role of ports in the fisheries sector, in view of the developments that have created a need to upgrade infrastructure; considers, furthermore, that Europe's fishing ports will be able to contribute in future to the development and provision of certification systems and to better traceability of catches;

29.  Stresses that the full involvement of women in activities in the sector, on an equal footing with men, is a fundamental objective that should be reflected in all the policies and measures designed and adopted for the sector;

30.  Reiterates that fishing is a vital activity, not just in food terms, but also in social, recreational and cultural terms, and that in many of Europe's coastal regions, it constitutes the main – and in some cases the sole – means of obtaining a livelihood for the numerous families who depend on it directly or indirectly, while helping to enliven the coasts and knit together their socio-economic fabric, in conjunction with other maritime activities;

31.  Considers it necessary to value and respect the role of women in fisheries and in the sustainable development of fishing areas; calls on Member States to take the measures required to ensure that assisting spouses enjoy a level of protection that is at least equivalent to that of the self-employed, under the same conditions as apply to the latter, including as regards access to the profession and the right to fish; calls on the Commission and the Member States to cooperate in order to promote and incorporate the principle of equal opportunities at the various stages of the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund (including the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation stages), as provided for in Article 11 of Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006;

32.  Urges the Commission to ensure that the most vulnerable groups in the fisheries sector, especially working women, fisherwomen and women shellfish gatherers, are not disadvantaged when access rights to resources are allocated, by encouraging their participation in the RACs;

33.  Maintains that the future financial accompanying measures should take account of the new CFP objectives; considers, in this connection, that the financial resources to be negotiated within the framework of the new multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020 should include an increased CFP budget that will create the financial conditions required for the full implementation and practical development of the reform guidelines that have been adopted; stresses that a Common Fisheries Policy presupposes fair Community financing aimed at ensuring that aquatic resources are exploited in a way that safeguards sustainability in economic, environmental and social terms; rejects any attempt to renationalise the costs of the CFP;

34.  Takes the view that the consecutive reductions in Community support for the sector provided for under the current multiannual financial framework 2007-2013, in particular the reduction in appropriations for the European Fisheries Fund and the common organisation of the market, are among the factors that have contributed to the worsening of the situation in the sector;

35.  Stresses that the principle of convergence in the allocation of structural and cohesion funds, including the EFF, should be maintained, in line with the solidarity principle and economic and social cohesion;

36.  Considers it necessary to establish a transitional period so that this reform of the CFP can be properly harmonised with the current framework of this common policy;

Specific aspects
Protection and conservation of resources and scientific knowledge

37.  Considers that CFP commitments to reversing the economic and social consequences of reduced fishing possibilities as well as the high levels of pollution and greater international competition must be compatible with the long-term sustainability of the sector;

38.  Maintains that the CFP should adopt an ecosystem approach, which should be taken into account equally in all of the economic activities carried out, where these affect the marine environment, with emphasis being placed on integrated management of coastlines where complex ecosystems are to be found and where a very delicate ecological balance must be struck between environmental, economic, social, recreational and cultural interests; calls on the Commission, in this respect, to ensure that the CFP reform includes the measures adopted to combat climate change and provides for adequate funding to implement these measures;

39.  Maintains that the reform of the CFP must continue to observe the precautionary principle set out in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and in the New York Agreement, so as to prevent any risk to the survival and/or sustainability of species in the future;

40.  Believes that local fishing communities should always be given primary access to fish stocks, although access rights should be based on updated criteria and no longer solely on the criterion of historical catches, and that environmental and social criteria should gradually be introduced to determine who has the right to catch fish, and that these should include the selectivity of the fishing gear and the resulting bycatch and discards, disturbance to the marine habitat, contribution to the local economy, energy consumption and CO2 emissions, quality of the final product, employment provided and compliance with the rules of the CFP, and that priority should be given to fishing for human consumption; is convinced that the use of such criteria could foster a dynamic that would lead to improved fishing practices and a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable fishing industry;

41.  Considers that historic rights have previously been protected by the principle of relative stability and that any new management regime must retain the benefits to coastal communities that have accrued from relative stability;

42.  Believes that the discarding of fish represents an unsustainable fishing practice that should be progressively phased out, and that this should be accomplished by creating both positive and, where necessary, negative incentives for the fishermen to improve their selectivity; considers that if incentives do not reduce discards within an appropriate timeframe, then a discard ban should be implemented;

43.  Maintains that the abovementioned long-term sustainability of the sector, the adoption of the ecosystem approach, the application of the precautionary principle and the selection of appropriate gears will only come about within the context of a decentralised fisheries policy, with decisions being taken on the basis of what is most appropriate to the situations in individual fisheries and maritime regions;

44.  Considers it necessary to guarantee effective protection for coastal areas that are highly environmentally sensitive (being the main breeding and spawning grounds for biological resources);

45.  Urges the Commission to assess the effects that the implementation of the measures adopted to combat climate may have on fisheries and the marine environment;

46.  Takes the view that a comprehensive fleet survey must be compared to the fish resources that are available to be caught, in order to determine which fleets are in balance with the resources and which ones need to be reduced and by how much, as required under Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002;

47.  Stresses that Member States must, as stated in the new Control Regulation adopted on 20 November 2009 (Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Article 55(1)), ‘ensure that recreational fisheries on their territory and in Community waters are conducted in a manner compatible with the objectives and rules of the Common Fisheries Policy’;

48.  Urges the Commission to consider the social implications and the serious damage to fisheries done by some fish predators, such as oversized seal and cormorant populations;

49.  Points to the need for greater investment at national and European level in applied research and scientific knowledge in the fisheries field, to encourage collective research organisations, whose competence and experience have increased in recent years, and to the need for the fisheries sector to be involved more effectively in the subject areas covered by the framework programmes to promote research; stresses that research and knowledge with regard to fisheries needs to be coordinated at European level; believes that it is essential that uncertainties in the scientific assessments be reduced and that appropriate social and economic data be generated and incorporated into the assessments; takes the view that the incorporation of information by stakeholders into the assessments should be pursued; emphasises that the new ecosystem approach will involve multidisciplinary research;

50.  Stresses that scientific fisheries research is an essential tool for fisheries management that is indispensable for identifying the factors that influence the development of fishery resources, for carrying out a quantitative assessment and developing models that make it possible to forecast their development, and also for improving fishing gear, vessels and working and safety conditions for fishermen, in conjunction with their knowledge and experience;

51.  Points out that scientific research should take account of the social, environmental and economic components of fishing activity; considers it essential to assess the impact of the various fisheries management systems/instruments on employment and income in fishing communities;

52.  Stresses the need to provide appropriate working conditions, decent rights and pay for researchers and technical experts involved in scientific fisheries research;

53.  Believes that increasing use should be made of information technologies relevant to the sector and of computerised systems for collecting and transferring data, for both regional and national administrations and professionals and producers‘ organisations, thus making information more accessible and transparent;

54.  Believes that the mandatory use of new technologies on board fishing vessels (for the purposes of fisheries inspection and control) should be introduced gradually and with a transitional period, in order to make it easier for the sector to adapt;

55.  Recognises that target species, as well as non-target species such as fish, sharks, turtles, seabirds and marine mammals, are sentient creatures, and calls on the Commission to allocate support for the development of catching and slaughtering methods that reduce unnecessary suffering of marine wildlife;

Profitability and professional advancement

56.  Points out that the reform of the CFP should take account of the fact that the EU has decided that the exploitation of fish stocks should be managed by means of the objective of maximum sustainable yield, understood as an upper limit to the level of exploitation, rather than as a target, but stresses that this should be reconciled with a multi-species approach that takes into consideration the situation regarding all the species involved in a fishery and avoids the current approach of applying MSY stock by stock; takes the view that it is advisable to implement this objective in an operational manner, to base it on scientific data and to measure the socio-economic consequences that it entails;

57.  Stresses the importance of economic and political support for cooperation between fishermen and researchers, so that advice may given on a basis which more truly reflects conditions in the sea and may be more speedily implemented;

58.  Stresses how important the fishing industry is in the socio-economic situation, in employment and in promoting economic and social cohesion in the outermost regions (ORs); recalls that the Community's ORs are lagging behind in socio-economic terms, due to their remoteness, insularity and isolated situation, small size and difficult topography and climate, their economic dependence on a small number of products, particularly fishery products, their limited markets and their dual nature (as both Community regions and territories situated in developing-country environments), and that these characteristics justify positive discrimination in some areas of the CFP, in particular as regards support for fleet modernisation and renewal;

59.  Urges the Commission to recognise the specific features of, and the differences between, the ORs and remote island communities which rely almost entirely on fishing for their economic survival, and to promote support measures geared to the biological and social sustainability of fisheries in those regions;

60.  Supports the continuation of POSEI-Fisheries (scheme to compensate for the additional costs incurred in the marketing of certain fishery products from the outermost regions) along the same lines as POSEI-Agriculture; believes, in this connection, that this programme should remain in force permanently, since outermost status is a permanent factor;

61.  Considers it necessary to create interprofessional clusters in the fisheries sector, involving owners, workers, processors, intermediaries, etc., which would promote dialogue between the various upstream and downstream stakeholders in the sector;

62.  Urges the Commission to draw up specific Community programmes to support small-scale coastal and non-industrial fisheries and shellfishing – activities that are generally conducted by small and medium-sized operating units – in order to help them to overcome their traditional structural difficulties by taking greater advantage of the opportunities afforded by the EFF, many of whose measures are already aimed exclusively at small and medium-sized concerns, and by specifically helping them to gain greater access to markets and enhance the value of their products;

63.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to promote proper training for fishermen and skippers, including mandatory education schemes in ‘best practice’ in fishing and the basics of marine ecology for those requiring professional qualifications, with a view to enhancing the status of qualifications, giving prestige to the profession, and attracting more adaptable young people who would be capable of embracing occupational mobility, taking a more entrepreneurial attitude to the sector and incorporating all the technical, scientific and cultural elements needed to help overcome the widespread perception of fisheries as a peripheral activity;

64.  Emphasises that professional qualifications are a key factor in both improving productivity and raising wages; points out that skilled jobs are a feature of technologically advanced businesses and imply better remuneration, better knowledge of standards (and thus a greater likelihood of complying with them) and a better understanding of, and respect for, the interaction between fishing and ecosystems;

65.  Believes that all fishing and shellfishing operators, men and women alike, need to be guaranteed easier access to European Union financial instruments and accorded the same status in all Member States, so as to guarantee them social security cover and protection within the social welfare systems of each Member State; stresses that a strategy must be put in place to provide financial support to fishing professionals who, because fishing capacity has to be adjusted according to the availability of fish stocks, or to fish stock recovery plans, might see a decline in activity or might lose their job;

66.  Calls on the Member States, within the framework of their respective labour laws, to reach collective agreements that should be accepted by European fleets in order to improve their working conditions and safety;

67.  Considers it necessary to involve producers more closely in the marketing chain for fresh fish and other fishery products and to reduce the number of middlemen in the chain and, to an increasing extent, facilitate the involvement of producers‘ organisations and other stakeholders in the management of fisheries and the marketing of fishery products, the aim being to make the catching subsector as profitable as possible and to encourage and support all direct sales and marketing activities by producers capable of shortening the chain;

68.  Calls on the Commission to step up the provision of information to consumers on the origin and quality of fishery products and to draw up a specific eco-labelling programme with a view to enhancing the image of fishery products and promoting consumer health, basing it on strict monitoring and complete traceability from the moment the raw material is obtained to the moment the end-product is marketed, as regards sales of both fresh catches and processed products from fishing activity or aquaculture;

69.  Reiterates the need to ensure strict compliance with monitoring and certification measures for fishery and aquaculture products entering the Community market, including imports, in order to ascertain their identity and the fact that they come from sustainable fisheries and, if so, are properly processed; points, furthermore, to the need to ensure that imported products are traceable and satisfy the health, environmental and social requirements imposed on Community products, the aim being to create a level playing field on the Community market;

Management models, decentralisation, greater responsibility, and supervision

70.  Points out that, since fishing is an activity that exploits a self-renewable resource, the first and principal task of fisheries management is directly or indirectly to control total fishing effort in such a way as to achieve the objective of guaranteeing the supply of fish to the public within a framework of resource sustainability;

71.  Considers it essential to establish a political framework allowing decisions concerning the sector to be taken on a medium- and long-term basis, applying different operating plans consistent with the specific nature of marine ecosystems, fisheries and the distinctive features of individual European fleets and industries;

72.  Considers that, whilst long term strategic objectives may be formulated at EU level, real responsibilities in terms of developing and implementing individual operating plans should be given to Member States and regional bodies, with the European institutions playing a role in ensuring that key objectives are met;

73.  Considers that long-term management and recovery plans should be established for all EU fisheries and/or geographical fishing regions; calls for these to be precautionary in nature, to be based upon scientific advice, and to meet consistent criteria that will ensure an ecosystem approach; believes that the plans should be regularly monitored so that, if necessary, they can be adapted to any new circumstances;

74.  Considers that management and recovery plans should be scientifically assessed and rigorously tested, by means of simulations, to ensure that they have a high probability of achieving their aims despite the many uncertainties that are inherent in our scientific knowledge of the marine environment and the characteristics of fish stocks;

75.  Urges the Commission to examine all alternative measures for tackling overfishing, as well as the possible ways of modernising certain parts of the fleet without increasing the fishing capacity;

76.  Considers that more direct involvement of the fisheries sector in the formulation of the CFP and in its management might significantly reduce discards; considers that as much support as possible should be given to experiments with results-based management; considers that this will require the revision of the Control Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009), even though it was only adopted in late 2009;

77.  Maintains that the management system for the fisheries sector must abandon the traditional top-down approach, laying emphasis instead on the principle of regionalisation and subsidiarity (horizontal decentralisation) without leading to regional discrimination or to disruption of the common implementation of fisheries policy, on the evaluation of the principle of relative stability and whether the conclusions of that evaluation require that principle to be applied more flexibly and on the participation of professionals in the sector and other stakeholders; firmly rejects, in view of the multifarious specific features of the Community fleet, any attempt to adopt a single Community fisheries management model, and calls instead for due account to be taken of the specific particularities of the various European seas; stresses, however, the need to avoid jeopardising either equality of opportunity among producers on the European market or the harmonisation of the conditions of competition;

78.  Urges the Commission to work for a separate, clearly defined, liberal and de-bureaucratised and simplified model for managing small-scale, coastal fisheries, where the European institutions set the overarching targets to be achieved by the Member States according to their own strategies;

79.  Recognises the potential that self-management and regionalisation offer for the creation of a culture of compliance;

80.  Believes that the involvement of stakeholders in the design and management of fisheries management policies can lead to more effective management measures, and thus believes that positive innovation at individual, local or Member-State level should be recognised, encouraged and incentivised;

81.  Considers it important to have more debate and analysis regarding the possible decentralisation of the CFP, with the participation of all stakeholders at institutional and sectoral level;

82.  Urges the Commission to carefully examine the possibility of adopting new fisheries management models that are complementary to the TAC and quota system, except where that system may continue to be appropriate, since such arrangements would facilitate the introduction of the no-discards policy and enable the fleet to be adapted in a more flexible way, in line with the actual diversity and distribution of stocks, urges the Commission to explore if any changes should be made to the principle of relative stability and, in particular, how coastal communities highly dependent on fisheries may be given preference in the share-out of fisheries resources;

83.  Considers that a management system based on fishing effort could help develop an effective no-discards policy and simplify the current administrative and control procedures, which are excessively time-consuming and expensive for both the sector and the Member States‘ administrations;

84.  Considers it insufficient to measure fishing effort in a uniform way, without taking account of the diversity of fleets and gear; considers that action to control fishing effort should take account of the various species, the various types of fishing gear and the assessed impact of catches on stocks of each species;

85.  Considers that any change in the management model should include a transitional period of application exclusively within each Member State, in order to avoid any sudden changes and to assess the results before extending its application to Community level;

86.  Also considers that any new management model should build on the existing arrangements based on relative stability, but sees it as inevitable that the future CFP will have to recognise the current situation regarding the use of quotas, giving the system sufficient flexibility to stop hampering the economic effectiveness and profitability of investments;

87.  Takes the view that the greater the level of participation is, the clearer the objectives are and the more economic and social support is provided to those affected, the greater will be the understanding, acceptance and implementation of the various measures for managing fishery resources; stresses the need to implement mechanisms for subsidising or compensating fishermen affected by the economic and social repercussions of multiannual recovery and management plans and ecosystem protection measures;

88.  Maintains that Regional Advisory Councils (RACs), as well as other stakeholders and the assessments made by the Community Fisheries Control Agency, should play a more active role, both during and after the CFP reform process, and that these bodies should be placed in a position, logistically and financially, to exercise their updated responsibilities effectively and to the full, as advocated in Parliament's previous resolutions, such as the above-mentioned resolution of 24 April 2009;

89.  Calls for a stronger regional element in decision-making, taking greater account of the regional specificities of ecosystems and natural production conditions, with a sustainably enhanced role for regional advisory bodies;

90.  Stresses the importance of the European Fisheries Control and Inspection Agency in the context of the reformed CFP, and highlights the need to ensure harmonisation and objectivity in fisheries control and to apply a uniform and fair system of rules and sanctions, thus strengthening confidence among ship-owners and fishermen in the fundamental principle of equal treatment;

91.  Takes the view that the CFP control policy should take the following into account:

   more direct control by the European Commission, making maximum use of the possibilities offered by the creation of the Fisheries Control Agency,
   legislative simplification through the adoption of standards that are best adapted to achieving the objectives,
   application of the principle that the party that breaches legislation must repair the damage done to other operators, and
   a bottom-up decision-making process, which will facilitate the implementation of the control system;

92.  Calls for a more comprehensive policy to make Member States take greater responsibility, whereby Member States that had not fulfilled their control and conservation commitments would not be eligible for structural funding and other forms of Community support pursuant to Article 95 of the new Control Regulation; considers it essential for EU and national fisheries funding to be channelled, in a flexible manner, only into activities and measures which are based on ecologically, economically and socially sustainable fisheries;

93.  Notes that IUU fishing is a form of unfair competition that seriously harms all European fishermen who comply with Community, national and third-country legislation and carry out their activity in a responsible way;

94.  Recalls that IUU fishing disrupts the fair operation of the market in fish and threatens the balance of ecosystems;

95.  Encourages the EU to accept its responsibility as the world's largest fish importer and market and to take the lead in addressing the global problem of illegal fisheries, using all available opportunities to move the fight against IUU fishing to the top of the international agenda, given the severe environmental damage it causes, including the weakening of the resilience of marine ecosystems to the impact of climate change, and the threat it poses to food security;

Management of Community fishing fleets

96.  Stresses that the scope of the reform of the CFP should seek solutions that ensure a stable and permanent balance between fishery resources and fleet capacity;

97.  Reiterates the importance of adjusting the capacity of the fishing fleet to the resources available, but stresses that the Commission and Member States should quantify the actual excess capacity, identifying which fleets are too large in relation to their current fishing opportunities;

98.  Supports different treatment for the high-sea fisheries sectors and those whose structure and business capabilities are more on a par with other economic activities, and for smaller-scale fisheries with closer links to coastal areas and specific markets, a lower unit production volume and different cost and employment structures;

99.  Supports the drafting of new definitions of small-scale fisheries and industrial fisheries and of more flexible criteria on which to base these definitions, so as to ensure that they are better adapted to the diverse nature of Community fisheries; to that end, urges the Commission to conduct a detailed and exhaustive survey on the size, characteristics, and spread of the current Community fleet, each category being defined according to sound criteria, so that there can be no discrimination between similar fleets or between fleets from different Member States operating in the same waters;

100.  Calls on the Commission to clearly define overcapacity; considers it necessary to ascertain the reasons for overcapacity, and in particular the economic drivers for capacity, and to explore possible links with the market policy, mindful that in certain cases market forces can represent a key criterion to be taken into account; believes that the criteria for defining the Community fleet should go beyond simplistic numerical parameters and include differentiated weighting factors in each region, which would provide a uniform and flexible model capable of responding fairly to the range of different situations in the Community fleet;

101.  Takes the view that the present EFF and future structural funds for the fisheries sector must continue to support fleet renewal and modernisation, above all with regard to small-scale coastal and artisanal fishing, since this support is based on criteria of safety (which minimise occupational accidents), hygiene and comfort, as well as environmental protection, fuel economy and other criteria which do not involve any increase in fishing capacity for the fleets concerned;

102.  Believes that the policy on support for fishing fleets should take account of merit-based criteria such as: the development of good ‘environment-friendly’ fishing practices, respect for the culture of compliance and the implementation of organisational schemes (producers‘ associations);

103.  Is in favour of setting up a Scrapping Fund as an effective and short-term solution to the problems of overcapacity, with rules to avoid its use being blocked by the Member States;

104.  Considers that the fishing fleet should be capable in the longer term of financing itself and remaining competitive in a liberalised fisheries products market, but stresses that this can only happen under a CFP whose fisheries management model facilitates the profitability of undertakings;

Aquaculture and processed products

105.  Is convinced that a strong, high-quality aquaculture sector that is environmentally sustainable has the potential to boost growth in related sectors and to help promote development in coastal, offshore and rural areas, with considerable benefits for consumers as well, in the form of ecologically produced, nourishing and high-quality food products;

106.  Considers that the protection and the competitiveness of Community aquaculture should be strengthened by providing ongoing substantial support for research and technological development, planning coastal areas and river basins so as to facilitate access to the required space, and encompassing the specific needs of aquaculture within EU market policy; recognises the important role played by producer organisations (POs) established under the Common Market Organisation and urges the Commission to specifically address the specialist needs and requirements of the aquaculture sector in these rules;

107.  Considers that the sustainable development of aquaculture requires environment-friendly installations and production methods, including sustainable sources of feed, in order to avoid issues such as eutrophication of waters and to promote the production of higher quality products through improved health standards and the establishment of high standards for organic aquaculture and animal welfare, as well as a high level of consumer protection; stresses the importance of including incentives for organic aquaculture production and efforts to enhance the efficiency of fish farming plants;

108.  Considers aquaculture to be an integral part of the CFP that plays a complementary role vis-à-vis the catching subsector, particularly as regards the availability of food supply, employability and repopulation, above all of the species that are the most over-exploited in the wild;

109.  Calls for support to be given to investment in new fish-farming technologies, including intensive systems allowing water to be recycled and offshore salt-water and fresh-water fish farming, as well as in research into the farming of new species of economic interest and feed produced with a lower environmental impact, with priority support given to improving environmental sustainability; recognises the scale potential that exists for offshore aquaculture and urges the Commission to examine specific mechanisms to support the development of such offshore salt-water fish farming;

110.  Considers it necessary to introduce rules establishing good market practices (product quality checks, consumer protection, custom duties) and fair competition regarding fishing products from outside the EU, excluding products which fall under regulations included in EU agreements with third parties;

111.  Considers it essential that, in the event of biological rest periods for the fleet for the purpose of restoring fish stocks, due account should also be taken of the canning industry where there are no alternative sources of supply of the species affected by those measures;

112.  Calls on the Commission to present proposals to the Council and the European Parliament that promote the search for new aquaculture species, in particular herbivorous species, offering high quality and added value, and to promote research and a Community-wide exchange of good practice regarding such species and the related production and marketing methods, with a view to meeting environmental concerns and securing a better competitive position in relation to other novel foods;

113.  Stresses the importance of providing funding to aquaculture enterprises regardless of their size, the main criterion being their contribution to the social and economic development of coastal life;

Markets and marketing of fish

114.  Echoes the complaints voiced by the sector about the reform of the COM in fisheries and aquaculture products being linked to the process of reforming the CFP, as opposed to what happened with the fisheries control policy, which will probably mean having to wait until 2013 before Community producers have a new framework to help them enhance the profitability of their activity; hopes that the Commission communication on the future of the current COM will be presented without further delay;

115.  Believes that an urgent far-reaching revision of the COM in fisheries products should be carried out in order to boost its contribution to guaranteeing earnings in the sector, ensuring market stability, improving the marketing of fisheries products and increasing the value added generated;

116.  Stresses the need to create mechanisms to promote the concentration of supply, in particular by setting-up and revitalising producers‘ organisations;

117.  Calls, in addition, for the compilation of a study providing a detailed analysis of the general situation concerning the concentration of demand in the fisheries products market, in order to check for the existence of market strategies that might breach competition rules and push down the prices for most species;

118.  Considers it necessary to create market intervention mechanisms, particularly in fisheries where a management model based on the principle of transferable fishing rights is used, in order to prevent the excessive concentration of fishing rights among a small number of operators (safeguard clauses), since, if such a situation came about within a Member State, it could jeopardise the viability of its artisanal fleet, and if several Member States were involved it could jeopardise the sustainability of the sector in some of those States;

119.  Asks, at the same time, that in its future recovery and management plans the Commission analyse the possible impact and repercussions of reducing catches on the European market and the resultant import of substitutes from third countries to make up for market shortages;

120.  Stresses the need to ensure that the common commercial policy is consistent with the objectives pursued under the CFP, so as to ensure that new EU concessions (multilateral, regional or bilateral) as regards external tariff and non-tariff protection for fisheries and aquaculture products do not cancel out or jeopardise the efforts made to secure sufficiently profitable outlets for Community products;

121.  Believes that everything possible should be done to avoid increasing the EU's already very heavy dependence on third-country imports for its supplies of fisheries and aquaculture products;

122.  Considers it necessary for the EU to ensure the external promotion of Community fishery products, such as canned fish and aquaculture products, in particular by promoting their certification and financing their presentation at international competitions and fairs;

External relations

123.  Considers that CFP external action should be guided by the objective of defending Community fisheries interests in line with EU external policy;

124.  Maintains that the Community should establish a stronger presence in RFMOs, the FAO, the UN and other international organisations, with a view to promoting sustainable management of international fisheries, combating illegal fishing, ensuring greater protection of marine ecosystems and safeguarding the future of fisheries activities;

125.  Maintains that schemes need to be devised for promoting fishery products coming from environmentally sustainable and socially fair sources within and outside the EU;

126.  Insists that, as stipulated in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the EU should accept access to fish stocks in third-country waters only when it has been scientifically demonstrated that there is a surplus that cannot be caught by the third country's fishermen and that that surplus can be harvested sustainably, in keeping with at least the same standards as apply in the EU (gear selectivity, etc.);

127.  Maintains that new fisheries agreements with third countries should be given an overall assessment, against criteria, as laid down by the European Parliament; considers that the purpose of these criteria should be to strike a balance between economic interests and the promotion of sustainable fisheries, strengthening the capacity of our partners to guarantee sustainable fishing in their own waters and thus contributing to improving governance in the fisheries sector outside the EU, enhancing local employment in the sector and maintaining the credibility of the European Union as a global defender of human rights and democracy, in coherence with EU external policy;

128.  Calls, in addition, for the financial compensation arrangements in the fisheries partnership agreements to make a clear distinction between the part relating to the commercial component and that relating to fisheries development cooperation with third countries, in the interests of greater budgetary transparency;

129.  Considers that partnership agreements should boost job creation in third countries, reduce poverty levels, develop support structures for the sector (fishing ports, fish storage and processing structures, etc.) and hence reduce the numbers of immigrants to the EU;

130.  Believes that the financial compensation granted under fisheries agreements with third countries should be used to promote and develop the fisheries sector in those countries, either through the mandatory targeting of funding for the construction of infrastructure (fishing ports, storage, fish processing facilities, etc.) or through the provision of operational resources (vessels, gear, etc.) so that fishing activity can be carried out responsibly and sustainably;

131.  Is convinced that the fisheries partnership agreements should be negotiated on a sound scientific basis, and considers that other necessary advances require the inclusion of all technical measures in the negotiating process and substantial improvements in the mechanisms for implementing the provisions contained in the agreement;

132.  Calls for the sector affected to be consulted during the negotiating process and for the Long Distance RAC to participate as an observer in the joint committees provided for in the agreements;

133.  Considers that the growing complexity of the situation, the need for a more effective follow-up to the agreements and the increasing number of tasks involved in proper participation in the RFOs call for an increase in DG MARE's human and material resources, and that the possibility of decentralising executive management to the Member States should be investigated;

Integrated Maritime Policy

134.  Considers that the CFP requires a global approach to the management of fish stocks and must be coordinated with environmental and development policies and the IMP;

135.  Considers it a good decision for the European Commission to have made the IMP one of its priorities, and emphasises that the new ecosystem approach establishes a direct priority link between the CFP and the IMP;

136.  Believes that fishing activity should be suitably integrated and structured within a wider context of maritime activities such as maritime transport, marine tourism, offshore wind farms and aquaculture, and that it should be included in clusters of maritime activities;

137.  Points out that fishing is one of the economic activities that has the greatest impact on ecosystems, in that it obtains significant resources from them, and that it is the one most affected by other activities in these ecosystems, such as tourism, maritime transport and coastal urban development;

138.  Is convinced that real integration of the CFP into the IMP requires political will and that national, regional and local fishing entities are willing to enter into the necessary commitments; stresses that, taking account of its own objectives whilst acknowledging the need for suitable linkage between different policies that have an impact on the marine environment, a CFP must not be subordinate to other Community policies that have since been defined; considers, on the contrary, that the latter policies must safeguard and incorporate the objectives of fisheries policy;

139.  Highlights the need to earmark adequate financial resources for the IMP and reiterates the principle that new priorities must be matched by new funding; rejects the notion that the IMP should be financed from the EFF;

140.  Maintains that proper European maritime spatial planning needs to be systematically implemented, with the aim of establishing bio-geographical zones in order to protect the most sensitive marine ecosystems; points out, in this respect, that small-scale fisheries, marine aquaculture and shellfishing are mainly conducted in the most vulnerable ecosystems close to the coast, which means that the interaction is even more direct and immediate;

141.  Notes that in the Green Paper the Commission acknowledges that the 12-nautical-mile regime has generally worked well, and thus that one of the few areas in which the CFP has been relatively successful is that where the Member States have had control; calls, therefore, for this principle to be permanent in nature;

o
o   o

142.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Regional Advisory Councils, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee, the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Sea Fisheries and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 358, 31.12.2002, p. 59.
(2) OJ C 271 E, 7.11.2002, p. 67.
(3) OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p. 19.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0009.
(5) OJ C 247 E, 15.10.2009, p. 1.
(6) OJ C 187 E, 24.7.2008, p. 228.
(7) OJ C 68 E , 21.3.2009, p. 26.
(8) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0317.
(9) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 155.
(10) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0065.
(11) OJ C 157 E, 6.7.2006, p. 324.
(12) OJ C 300 E, 9.12.2006, p. 504.
(13) OJ C 286 E, 23.11.2006, p. 519.
(14) OJ C 306 E, 15.12.2006, p. 417.
(15) OJ L 286, 29.10.2008, p. 1.
(16) OJ L 286, 29.10.2008, p. 33.
(17) OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 1.
(18) OJ C 304 E, 1.12.2005, p. 258.
(19) OJ C 287 E, 29.11.2007, p. 502.
(20) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0245.
(21) OJ C 247 E, 15.10.2009, p. 87.
(22) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0255.
(23) OJ C 305 E, 18.12.2008, p. 271.
(24) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 233.
(25) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0373.
(26) OJ C 175 E, 10.7.2008, p. 531.
(27) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0382.
(28) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0042.
(29) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0089.
(30) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0583.

Last updated: 16 November 2010Legal notice