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Procedure : 2012/0179(COD)
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Texts tabled :

A7-0395/2013

Debates :

PV 09/12/2013 - 19
CRE 09/12/2013 - 19

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PV 10/12/2013 - 7.21
CRE 10/12/2013 - 7.21
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P7_TA(2013)0539

Debates
Monday, 9 December 2013 - Strasbourg Revised edition

19. North-East Atlantic: deep-sea stocks and fishing in international waters - Status of the North-East Atlantic mackerel fishery (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
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  Der Präsident. − Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die gemeinsame Aussprache über

– den Bericht von Kriton Arsenis im Namen des Fischereiausschusses über den Vorschlag für eine Verordnung des Europäischen Parlaments und des Rates mit besonderen Auflagen für die Befischung von Tiefseebeständen im Nordostatlantik und Vorschriften für den Fischfang in internationalen Gewässern des Nordostatlantiks und zur Aufhebung der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 2347/2002 (COM(2012)0371 - C7-0196/2012 - 2012/0179(COD)) (A7-0395/2013) und

– die Anfrage zur mündlichen Beantwortung an die Kommission über den Stand der Dinge bei der Makrelenfischerei im Nordostatlantik von Pat the Cope Gallagher, Alain Cadec und Gabriel Mato Adrover im Namen des Fischereiausschusses (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=OQ&reference=O-2013-000113&language=DE" \t "_blank"  - B7-0526/2013) (2013/2890(RSP)).

 
  
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  Kriton Arsenis, rapporteur. − Mr President, we are here to discuss a very thorny issue in Parliament: the proposal for the North-East Atlantic fisheries and deep-sea fisheries. What happened was that our fishermen were fishing in the coastal Atlantic waters. Once fish stocks were depleted there, they moved further inside the great depths of the Atlantic, fishing deeper and deeper into the sea, reaching more and more seabeds. This led to the discovery of new fisheries, fish that were argued over at the beginning, fish that had never been targeted before.

But what we soon found was that the fish that live at such great depths are very vulnerable. Sometimes they are only able to reproduce once they reach 35; sometimes they live for over 100 years, or even 150. This means that if you catch the big ones their stocks are quickly depleted – and this is what happened. We have cases where fish stocks were depleted in just two years and, 20 years later, they have still to recover. In 2002 we had the first access regime that brought forth some improvements but fish stocks did not return to sustainable levels and the Commission has now come up with another proposal to phase out bottom trawling over a two-year period.

The debate started in Parliament soon after the Commission released its proposal but there were severe delays. It was the first case I know of where the procedure was postponed so many times. We had two hearings – not one, but two hearings – on the issue and it was on the verge of not being voted or negotiated, for practical time reasons or simply because of big blocking majorities. Members worked very intensely to find common ground within the Committee on Fisheries and I would like to thank Carmen Fraga Estévez and Pat the Cope Gallagher and all the shadows who helped to bridge the huge gaps. One side wanted very limited things while the other side wanted the Commission proposal and even more.

The compromise that was reached is a compromise without the Commission’s basic proposal – the bottom trawling ban. There was an underlying agreement, however, that this compromise would be supported by the Member States in the Council. All this month I have tried to talk with the Member States involved. I failed to get any commitment that this compromise can be the final outcome of negotiations. The Socialist Group, just one hour ago, decided to vote in favour of the introduction of the bottom trawling ban.

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher, author. − Mr President, in this contribution I will deal with the mackerel situation and I am extremely concerned – as indeed are many other Members – about the actions of the Commissioner and her determination to cut a deal with Iceland and the Faroes at any cost.

The Commissioner informed the Committee on Fisheries last week that any deal with Iceland and the Faroe Islands would be better than no deal. I refer to last week’s meeting. Normally I would not do so because it was in committee, but immediately after the meeting the Commissioner issued her prepared script even though the meeting was in committee, so I feel I am quite free to speak about it.

I want to remind you, Commissioner, that you have a particular responsibility towards the European pelagic fleet and the coastal communities that depend so much on this important industry for employment. The bottom line is that no deal is better than a bad deal. A bad deal would tie the hands of this sector in Europe for many, many years when you and I and many others are gone.

I would like to remind the Commissioner that both Iceland and the Faroe Islands have increased their overall share of the catch from 5% in 2005 to 52% in 2013, and the Commissioner wants to reward countries that are prepared to do that. They have set their own bilateral quotas outside the remit of the Coastal States, which include the EU, Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. It is very hard to understand how a Commissioner can be prepared to reward the unsustainable actions of Iceland and the Faroe Islands by fishing over what she describes as double-digit quotas and, in addition to these huge unilateral mackerel quotas that both parties have set for 2013, the Faroe Islands have this year withdrawn from the Coastal States Agreement on Anglo-Scandia herring.

We know mackerel is a straddling stock in the territorial waters of the Coastal States and, due to the large increase in mackerel stock, it has now expanded both within Iceland and Faroese waters. I accept this and I will deal with it, but ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, has confirmed that the corresponding area for mackerel is off the southern and north-western coasts of my country, Ireland. Since 2010, the Coastal States have met on at least 14 occasions in various parts of the world but to no avail. The most recent meeting took place in Clonakilty, Ireland.

It is also important to note that in 2010 the EU and Norway concluded a long-term agreement on mackerel management for the North-East Atlantic and I also took the opportunity to discuss the ongoing situation when I met with the Norwegian European Affairs Minister. I compliment Norway on the stance which they have taken because, as it stands, we are relying on the Norwegian authorities – on the Norwegian Minister – to defend the rights of the EU pelagic fleet. It is sad that I have to make that statement but it is a matter of fact.

Furthermore, and in direct response to the over-fishing of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroe Islands, this Parliament and the Council fast-tracked a very weak document which came from the Commission in relation to sanctions and I as rapporteur strengthened those trade sanctions. Ninety-nine percent of the Members of this House voted in favour of that over a year ago and the Commissioner has said that it is important to have good relations between Parliament and the Council. But the Commission has ignored the views of 99% of us – almost every Member of this House. I have to say, Commissioner, I welcome your initiative to implement the trade sanctions against the Faroe Islands in respect of Anglo-Scandia herring, but you cannot do the same in relation to mackerel.

I would appreciate it if you could provide this information. I asked you a question last week and have not received an answer about the impact of this. You said the consequences were positive, but let us know what they are. Will you say whether you will once again consider trade measures should the current negotiations fail to reach a satisfactory agreement?

We all agree with the results of the latest scientific data: an increase in the stock of 64%, and of course we will have more details of this in March next year. Commissioner, can you confirm that these offers of 12% or 11.9% have been made and that they do not have – despite what you say – the support of the entire Council? Indeed, when I met Council members yesterday, they told me very clearly that they do not favour what you are doing. Did you discuss this with Norway prior to entering into this so-called offer?

In conclusion, Commissioner, you must think of the two-tier approach: when the fish are in Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese waters, they are entitled to it, and when they move out, they are not entitled to it. The two-tier approach is the answer and I believe we can resolve the problem if we adopt that approach.

 
  
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  Maria Damanaki, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, let me start with the proposal on deep-sea fishing. This is a very important issue as the rapporteur, Mr Stevenson, has already emphasised.

I would like to come back to the Commissionʼs proposal. I would like to repeat that the heart of the Commissionʼs proposal is the phase-out of bottom trawling and bottom gillnetting for deep-sea species. As you may know, parts of our fisheries industry are against this proposal. They were against it and they are still against it.

So in order to answer their concerns, we provided an assessment of the potential socio-economic impact of this particular measure. We came to the conclusion that the large majority, namely 83%, of the vessels that are now catching deep-sea species would not be affected at all.

So this is my answer to the concerns of our fishermen: 83% will not be affected at all.

Under our proposal, only 17% of deep-sea vessels will be affected and let me say clearly what affected means, so we can have this in mind. Affected does not mean that these vessels have to stop fishing. Not at all. It only means that they have to change their fishing technique to more sustainable gears, as is already practised in some regions of the European Union.

Let me underline that. In some regions of the European Union our fishermen have already changed their gears. They are using better gears. For example, in the Azores and Madeira fishermen have already been doing this for many years. And their vessels are profitable.

So if this works for vessels from these regions, then surely it must work for vessels from Boulogne and Galicia as well. This is what our impact assessment, our study, proves.

I regret that the Committee on Fisheries decided not to support this phase-out. I welcome the amendment tabled by several groups for the plenary that would reintroduce a phase-out. I think that this can be a step towards protection of our deep-sea environment and also towards protecting the sustainability of our fisheries.

So let me assure you that the Commission is ready to engage in constructive three-party discussions on this proposal. Having said that, I have to say here very openly that now that Parliament is expressing its views on the proposal, since you are going to vote tomorrow, I expect – I hope, but also I expect and I am going to ask – the Council Presidency to finally start their work on this regulation.

The Council has not even started to work on this regulation even though our proposal was tabled a long time ago. So I would like to ask the Presidency again, since Parliament is going to conclude tomorrow, to start – at least to start – their work on this file.

Now I would like to turn to mackerel and Mr Gallagherʼs question. You know of course, because we have discussed this issue here in the plenary over and over again and also in the Committee on Fisheries, that the Commission has been working for more than three years to find a solution for the mackerel fisheries in the North Atlantic, with the objective of protecting the best interests of our fishermen, in particular those in the pelagic sector. This is our aim and this is what we are trying to do and what we intend to do.

For a number of years now, the mackerel stock has migrated into new territories and the stock now spreads as far as Iceland and even Greenland.

I do not want to praise here the bad behaviour of Iceland and the Faroe Islands since they have imposed unilateral quotas. I agree that this is something that is not acceptable, but at the same time I think that I have to stress that we need an agreement, and in order to reach an agreement we have to understand and we have to recognise that the stock is not only spreading, it is moving up to Icelandic and Greenland waters.

So we have to have this in mind if we really want an agreement. Simply saying you have no right to fish and we are going to keep all the fish for ourselves is not a good basis for an agreement. This, at least, is my opinion.

So what is happening now? We have some good scientific advice for this year, although it is not yet fixed, and I can say that what I see is an opportunity to reach an agreement with Iceland and the Faroe Islands. An opportunity, a window of opportunity.

Of course our industry and the Norwegian industry – we are discussing this with Norway too – will be the main beneficiaries of the increase in the availability and the catch stocks for mackerel in 2014 following the latest ICES advice.

But I would very much like to reach an agreement now that the stock is in good shape. If the stock is in good shape then it gives us the opportunity, a better window of opportunity, to reach an agreement. If the stock is not in good shape, then everybody will want to fish more and this is not the best way to act.

So I have been discussing again and again with the Icelandic Government and I am going – myself – the day after tomorrow to the Faroe Islands to meet the Prime Minister and the Minister for Fisheries and try to persuade them to come to a deal with us.

It will not be easy and of course we are working on this together with our Norwegian allies. We also have to discuss it with you and we have to discuss it with the Council of Ministers.

So it will not be a decision taken by a Commissioner. It will be a decision taken by the full College, of course. It will be a decision that will be taken by the Council of Ministers, and this is something I would welcome because I think that our fishermen really need the best protection for their interests.

It will not be an agreement at any cost. It will be an agreement on a realistic basis that understands that the stocks are not only ours. So having Norway and the European Union once again fishing 90% of the stock, as we did last year, is not an option for me. I would like to state that very clearly.

Why? Because if we try to do this again it will not be a good basis for persuading anybody, especially the Court if we are going for trade measures, that we ourselves are fishing sustainably.

So we have to recognise that we have to move towards a deal. If the deal is possible, it will be OK. If the deal is not possible, then we have to take decisions for sustainability.

Let me add something else. Mr Gallagher repeated here that we have to go for a two-tier approach. I agree with him. This is also in our mind. That is why I can inform Parliament that in any case no deal will give Icelanders and Faroese access to our waters.

This is our translation of this principle. They are not going to have access to our waters. This means that if the stocks are not in good shape, then they are not going to fish their share. They are going to fish only in their waters. So this is something we have to bear in mind.

I do not know if there will be an agreement. I am going to try hard to get one. I will of course discuss it with the Council and the Council has been supportive for the moment. They will also discuss the final outcome of our agreement, of our negotiation.

What I would like to say very openly is that we have to remember that if we end up with no deal this year, then it is highly likely that there will be an Olympic fishery there. Why? Because no deal means that Iceland and the Faroese will put their unilateral quotas in place. Then the Member States will push in the Council to have their share too, so we may end up with an Olympic fishery approach and we may end up with a situation that will not be good for the sustainability of the stocks.

But then at least I will be able to come here and say I have tried, so it will not be the Commissionʼs responsibility if the stock collapses.

 
  
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  Anna Rosbach, ordfører for udtalelse fra Udvalget om Miljø, Folkesundhed og Fødevaresikkerhed. − Hr. formand! Fru kommissær! Som parlamentarikere har vi påtaget os det juridiske og moralske ansvar for at bevare og beskytte vore naturværdier. Hver dag ødelægger trawling godt 40.000 km2 havbund og efterlader områder, som mest af alt ligner undervandsørkener! Trawling ødelægger alt, hvad det kommer i nærheden af, uagtet om det er 1.000 år gamle koraller eller skrøbelige dybhavsarter, hvoraf mange er uspiselige. Denne afstemning vedrører et lille antal både, der fisker på så stor dybde, og de hverken bidrager til de offentlige finanser i Europa, private arbejdspladser eller økonomien i stor stil som helhed. Til gengæld modtager de enorme summer af EU-støtte. Fortsætter vi med dybhavstrawling, skader vi ikke kun havmiljøet, vi skader denne forsamlings legitimitet og renommé! Nogle beslutninger burde egentlig ikke være så svære at træffe, og dette er i mine øjne en af dem! Jeg vil derfor stemme for kollega Arsenis' betænkning.

 
  
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  Carmen Fraga Estévez, en nombre del Grupo PPE. – Señor Presidente, yo venía aquí con un discurso preparado, pero al llegar a este Pleno me acabo de enterar de que un compromiso que ha llevado muchos meses trabajarlo y hacer que sea un compromiso serio, ahora resulta que es boicoteado por el ponente y por el Grupo Socialista, basándose en no se qué justificaciones del Consejo. Me parece muy poco serio. Y además me parece muy poco leal hacia el trabajo que hemos estado haciendo aquí seriamente muchos diputados.

Dicho esto, señora Comisaria, usted sabe muy bien que su propuesta es una propuesta cuyo punto de partida es absolutamente radical, injustificado y discriminatorio. Y espero que este Parlamento pueda bloquearlo y, si no, que el Consejo, en su saber y entender, lo bloquee en un futuro.

La prohibición que usted propone de ciertas artes de pesca, como el arrastre de fondo y el enmalle, no la defiende nadie, salvo, con mucho interés, las ONG medioambientales y, por lo que veo aquí, también algunos diputados.

Usted ha puesto ahora mismo el ejemplo de Azores. Ese es un enfoque que nada tiene que ver con su propuesta. Ese es un enfoque como los que defendemos algunos como yo: el enfoque de ecosistema marino vulnerable, en el que también se protege el ecosistema y donde no se puede pescar. Pero una cosa es eso y otra la prohibición radical, que es la que usted propone. E insisto, ni en la NEAF, ni en la NAFO, ni en las Naciones Unidas, nadie, nadie propone esa prohibición.

Por tanto, yo considero que su propuesta es muy radical y espero –como digo– que aquí se bloquee, porque además es discriminatoria. Porque en esas mismas aguas que usted quiere prohibir a los nuestros, estarán pescando mañana Islandia, las Islas Feroe, etc., y encima exportarán a la Unión Europea lo que a nosotros usted nos prohíbe pescar.

 
  
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  Guido Milana, a nome del gruppo S&D. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, neanch'io leggerò quello che avevo preparato, anche perché non vorrei che il Parlamento adesso tradisse la discussione che abbiamo fatto mezz'ora fa sulla riforma della pesca.

Perché, mezz'ora fa, abbiamo detto che bisognava avere una politica sostenibile e che bisognava aiutare il mare a produrre di più. Oggi siamo pronti a tradire quest'aspetto: questo è il vero tradimento, non il cambio di un'opinione mentre si costruisce una posizione del Parlamento.

Nessuno si è preoccupato quando, per esempio – non nelle Azzorre, ma nel Mediterraneo – c'è stato un divieto di pesca a strascico nel fondo a mille metri di profondità. Anche lì il comportamento era generalizzato. Non si può essere assenti quando si parla di una parte e presenti dall'altra. Tra l'altro, la cosa gravissima è che il Consiglio è totalmente assente. Tre Presidenze: quella irlandese, quella cipriota e quella lituana non hanno messo all'ordine del giorno questo punto e questo è di una gravità inaudita! Non credo che sia stata soltanto inerzia di queste Presidenze, ma una vera e propria azione di lobby di chi ha interesse a lasciare le cose come stanno nel nord Atlantico!

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, I would like to thank Mr Kriton Arsenis, the rapporteur, for delivering the compromise package. But having listened to his contribution, I would have to ask the question: do we enter into negotiations for a compromise in all good faith? I am quite sure that Mr Arsenis himself will vote in favour of his compromises – otherwise he would have to withdraw his name from the report. We will have to wait and see, but it certainly undermines my confidence in negotiating in the event of a loss of faith.

The Commission’s decision – the Commission has to take some responsibility – to publish the proposal even before the Deepfishman project was finalised, resulted in a flawed recommendation. The Committee on Fisheries had two public meetings, numerous shadow meetings and bilaterals with the rapporteur.

From my point of view, I was interested in the possible impact on Ireland. They said that there were no implications whatsoever for Ireland – until we had the presentation and we soon saw the effect that it would have. Thankfully, looking after the interests of my own country, we have removed tusk, conger eel and ling from the list of species, which is of course a welcome development.

Look at Article 6. We can all focus on the deep sea, but look at Article 6, which outlines specific rules on the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems and that is, of course, vitally important. But let the Commissioner and others be very honest with us and tell us about these great fishery longlines, about the implications for sharks, which are the endangered species. And nobody is talking about the most endangered species of all, namely the fishermen of the future.

 
  
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  Jean-Paul Besset, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Monsieur le Président, il y a quelques mois, au mois de février, ce Parlement a voté à une très large majorité une nouvelle politique commune de la pêche réorientée vers la protection des ressources et la sélectivité des techniques de pêche. J'espère que, demain, le Parlement va confirmer ce vote, qui était intervenu en février.

La première application, l'application directe de cette nouvelle politique commune de la pêche est dans le règlement que propose la Commission pour la pêche en eaux profondes. C'est une excellente proposition de la Commission que, hélas, la commission de la pêche a refusée, dans son cœur de cible, à savoir l'interdiction du chalutage en eaux profondes, qui est une technique particulièrement destructrice comme toute la communauté scientifique l'a démontré.

Nous voulons donc que le Parlement revienne dans sa logique et dans sa cohérence et, demain, réintroduise la proposition de la Commission interdisant le chalutage en eaux profondes au-delà de six cents mètres.

 
  
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  Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Panie Przewodniczący! Słowa pana Arsenisa zaskoczyły nas jako grupę, ponieważ do tej pory przygotowywaliśmy wspólnie rozwiązania i – jak sam wspomniał – przygotowanych zostało kilka wysłuchań publicznych mających na celu znalezienie wspólnego rozwiązania. Dzisiaj jesteśmy całkowicie zaskoczeni tymi słowami i można powiedzieć, że tak jak prowadziliśmy negocjacje w zakresie wspólnej polityki rybołówstwa, tak teraz brakuje tych samych porozumień i takiego samego toku. W związku z czym stajemy na stanowisku, że nie możemy się zgodzić z tą propozycją i będziemy dalej forsować rozwiązania, które były przyjęte przez naszą grupę.

 
  
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  Martina Anderson, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – Mr President, we are still waiting for the Commission to propose a viable and sustainable solution to the question of fishing quotas in the North-East Atlantic, one that reflects the increase in stock number, and those Member States which abused their previous allocation should be sanctioned, not rewarded. I call on the Commission to act to protect and to promote the interests of EU Member States, such as Ireland, which have acted responsibly and which have relied on these fishing resources for decades.

Overfishing by one country can have devastating effects on others and it is up to the Commission to prevent this. I sincerely hope to see a fast and fair deal to prevent any further disruption in this fragile area and to the livelihoods of those who rely on it. I certainly hope that this Chamber, the MEPs, can have confidence in the negotiations that are taking place, but I know from what we have heard this evening that there is a lot of concern.

 
  
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  Gabriel Mato Adrover (PPE). - Señor Presidente, para algunos, en política parece que vale todo. Y los compromisos no valen nada. ¡Qué pena!

Lamentablemente, en esta Cámara hay quienes quieren erigirse en únicos centinelas de los recursos pesqueros, ignorando que los verdaderos centinelas de los recursos pesqueros son precisamente los pescadores. Esos mismos pescadores a los que la propuesta de la Comisión aboca a una situación irreversible. Si, tal y como pretende, se prohíbe el arrastre y enmalle de fondo para la pesca de especies de profundidad, las consecuencias serán económica y socialmente catastróficas para muchas comunidades dependientes de la pesca, que no podrán soportarlo.

Cuatro ejemplos: el Reino Unido estima que cerca de cuatrocientos barcos ingleses se verían afectados por la propuesta; en Francia, solo teniendo en cuenta cuatro puertos, se perderían, aproximadamente, quinientos empleos directos relacionados con los treinta y dos barcos con licencia para pescar especies de fondo; también Portugal se vería notablemente perjudicado por una prohibición como la propuesta; y, si nos referimos a España, es evidente que imposibilitaría operar a los censos de arrastre en aguas internacionales de la NAFO, la NEAFC y Noruega y el arrastre en aguas de la Unión para la «flota de los 300», así como a los censos de volanta y rasco en el Cantábrico noroccidental.

Pero lo que es más grave es que esta propuesta de prohibición del arrastre se ha presentado en contra de la opinión de los Estados miembros, de los CCR, de los comités científicos de la NAFO y de la NEAFC. El arrastre no se ha prohibido en ningún país del mundo, ni siquiera en Nueva Zelanda, ejemplo para el mundo de explotación pesquera sostenible y que está muy cerca de la barrera de coral. Tampoco ha sido prohibido por ninguna organización regional de pesca ni por la propia Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas.

Reflexionen. Es compatible proteger y pescar. Proteger y pescar. Hagámoslo así.

 
  
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  Isabelle Thomas (S&D). - Monsieur le Président, nous avions trois défis, trois enjeux majeurs à traiter par le biais du rapport sur les grands fonds. Premièrement, protéger les fonds vulnérables, deuxièmement, garantir que toutes les espèces des grands fonds puissent se régénérer durablement, troisièmement, préserver les emplois du secteur de la pêche.

Grâce à l'adoption du compromis conclu en commission de la pêche, ces trois objectifs peuvent tous être atteints. Pour ma part, je ne trahirai pas la parole donnée. Grâce à l'interdiction partielle du chalut et à la sanctuarisation d'une empreinte écologique dans 90 % des eaux internationales de l'Atlantique Nord-Est, grâce à une fixation de quotas étendue à toutes les espèces, donc plus exigeante que la PCP, grâce à une cartographie des fonds vulnérables d'ici deux ans, nous nous sommes donnés les moyens d'atteindre les objectifs environnementaux que nous nous sommes fixés. Mais il est tout aussi important de dire que, grâce aux compromis, nous réalisons notre troisième défi, celui de maintenir une activité elle aussi vulnérable dans les 10 % de zones maintenues pour la pêche des grands fonds. Ce sont au minimum 758 navires, Madame la Commissaire – selon la propre étude d'impact de la Commission –, et donc des milliers de marins pêcheurs qui pourraient maintenir leur activité.

En ces temps de chômage, la perte de ces emplois entraînerait certaines de nos régions en Écosse, en Irlande, en France, en Espagne et au Portugal vers le précipice.

 
  
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  Chris Davies (ALDE). - Mr President, I think there are some here who care more about the niceties of a procedure than they do about the state of our seas and the threat to our marine ecosystems. Amendments have been tabled, which we will vote on tomorrow, calling for deep sea trawling below 600 metres to be banned. That reflects the position that the Commission has put forward. It makes clear that this activity is deeply harmful. There is growing support across this House for these proposals because we all realise that at these depths it takes an enormously long time for the marine ecosystem to recover once it is damaged.

Three hundred marine scientists have written to us saying that we should stop this activity because of the damage. That is more scientists saying we should stop it than there are fishermen on a regular basis actually doing it! For heaven’s sake, let us listen to the science. Remember we can always go back to start trawling if there is a seabed to trawl. We cannot stop it if we have destroyed the seabed, because if we do that it is gone for our lifetimes.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Struan Stevenson (ECR), blue-card question. – Mr President, I missed my speaking time in the first debate because no one has yet discovered a way of getting to Strasbourg from Scotland by 5 p.m. However, I want to refer to what Chris Davies has just said. He talks about people being more concerned about the niceties of procedure. We spent months debating this with the sector, with the scientists, with the NGOs, and we in the Committee on Fisheries arrived at a compromise proposal that met the agreement of all the political groups; and now we see these political groups putting down amendments for debate and voting tomorrow which is a betrayal of the parliamentary process.

How can we have any confidence in future negotiations if this is the way people are going to react, simply because elections are due, and some people are courting publicity and being opportunistic in trying to win votes? This is not a way to be dealing with the sensible sustainable fisheries of the future.

 
  
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  Chris Davies (ALDE), blue-card answer. – Mr President, although primarily this affects French boats, because they are the majority of boats fishing on a regular basis – and it is interesting that more and more French MEPs are coming out opposing this – there is a Scottish element to this. In Scotland the universities specialise in marine biology. That is where many of the marine scientists are coming from. Why is Mr Stevenson not listening to the advice of his own Scottish scientists?

 
  
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  Struan Stevenson (ECR). - Mr President, if Mr Davies would like to come up to Kinlochbervie, he will find a small community whose only business is provided by deep-water trawlers. They fish on the continental slope for whitefish, megrim, saithe and monkfish at 900 metres. That whole community is going to be destroyed by Chris Davies. I hope he comes up and speaks to the fishermen and the families who are going to lose their livelihoods because of this ridiculous, over-the-top reaction by him and his supporters.

 
  
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  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Połowy głębinowe, a więc powyżej 400 m, mogą być bez wątpienia zagrożeniem dla środowiska. Zdajemy sobie sprawę z ilości gatunków, które żyją w głębinach, a także widzimy, jak ograniczona jest nasza wiedza o dnach mórz i oceanów. Dlatego też doceniam starania prowadzące do tego, by przedstawiony projekt był kompromisem pomiędzy obrońcami środowiska a rybakami. Projekt zawiera postanowienia gwarantujące, że przyznawanie pozwoleń na połowy będzie oparte o analizy naukowe, i jednocześnie nakłada na rybaków obowiązek rejestrowania i raportowania o połowach gatunków głębinowych. Obowiązkiem państw członkowskich będzie ocena oddziaływania połowów na stan ekosystemu morskiego jeszcze przed odnowieniem pozwolenia na dalsze połowy. To wszystko gwarantuje, że zasada zrównoważonego rozwoju będzie realizowana.

Chciałbym dodać, że cieszy mnie fakt, iż nie został zamrożony rynek uprawnień połowowych. Możliwość wymiany uprawnień będzie dla wielu rybaków szansą na bardziej efektywne wykorzystywanie kutrów i możliwości załogi. Na koniec chciałbym podziękować panu sprawozdawcy za współpracę i uwzględnienie polskich postulatów dotyczących dokonywania wymiany uprawnień do połowów pomiędzy państwami członkowskimi.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye-Verfahren

 
  
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  Romana Jordan (PPE). - Tudi jaz sem dobila številna opozorila znanstvenikov in sama jih jemljem zelo resno. Govorijo namreč o živalskih vrstah, govorim seveda o globokomorskem ribolovu z vlečnimi mrežami in znanstveniki opozarjajo na vrste, ki so dolgo živeče, ki počasi rastejo in imajo zaradi tega seveda tudi daljše regeneracijske cikle. Zaradi tega tak ribolov povzroča veliko škodo in sama sem zaskrbljena, da lahko okrevanje takih ekosistemov traja tudi stoletja.

Menim, da to, da ni dovolj podatkov o ribjem staležu, in da pravzaprav ne vemo, kakšen točno naj bi bil vzdržen ribolov tam, ni argument za to, da ne ukrepamo, še zlasti, ker imamo dobre prakse, kot so recimo na Norveškem.

Menim, da sedanja generacija ne sme iztrebiti in opustošiti ekosistemov, ki so vir hrane in preživetja. Naslednja generacija ljudi bo še številčnejša in do njih imamo odgovornost trajnostnega razvoja.

 
  
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  Antolín Sánchez Presedo (S&D). - Señor Presidente, quiero decir que, efectivamente, la Unión Europea tiene el compromiso de asegurar que en el año 2020 sus ecosistemas marinos estarán en buenas condiciones y se mantendrán así en el futuro. La Directiva marco sobre la estrategia marina establece esta obligación para los Estados miembros.

Todos sabemos que las aguas profundas son especialmente sensibles porque tienen hábitats con una biodiversidad que se ha formado a lo largo de períodos prolongados de tiempo y porque hay especies vulnerables que, en caso de pérdidas, se recuperan en larguísimos períodos de tiempo.

Por eso, después de diez años durante los que no han funcionado las medidas adoptadas, hemos dado la bienvenida a la posición de la Comisión, que incluía medidas drásticas. Nosotros pensamos que no es necesario utilizar, en este caso, el serrucho. Hay que hacer una operación de cirugía, y por eso hemos llegado a un compromiso en la comisión, definiendo la política de pesca de aguas profundas, estableciendo una lista de especies vulnerables, estableciendo condiciones y límites para las autorizaciones, estableciendo una lista de áreas de ecosistemas sensibles y estableciendo una evaluación.

Pensamos que sería positivo que en el Parlamento tuviera un amplio apoyo para conseguir que el Consejo llegue a un acuerdo y evitar medidas que dividan nuestra posición.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE). - Señor Presidente, la elaboración del informe ha sido complicada y voy a poner en valor el compromiso alcanzado, porque creo que ese es el camino.

El País Vasco tiene cuatro buques que pescan por debajo de los seiscientos metros, pero esto no significa que sea una pesca dirigida a especies profundas. No pescan tiburones, solo rape. Lo hacen durante el día y solo durante dos o tres meses al año, con un carácter más artesanal que el resto y apenas tienen descartes, tal y como consta en un informe del instituto AZTI realizado a petición del propio sector. Por ello, deberían quedar exentos de la aplicación de este Reglamento y ser utilizados, señora Comisaria, como un ejemplo de buena práctica que debe aplicarse a nivel europeo.

Las enmiendas presentadas a última hora pueden acabar con un sector que es y debería ser un ejemplo. Tengan claro que el más interesado en mantener la sostenibilidad es el propio sector, y esto debemos hacerlo en colaboración con los institutos científicos y con datos objetivos para hacer de nuestro sector un sector rentable y sostenible.

 
  
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  Sandrine Bélier (Verts/ALE). - Monsieur le Président, je voudrais, ce soir, me faire la porte-parole de la faune et des poissons d'eaux profondes pour demander à cette assemblée de mettre fin à une pratique inique et particulièrement destructrice, le chalutage en eaux profondes, le chalutage à plus de six cents mètres.

Les communautés végétales et animales marines en eaux profondes sont très variées et riches, mais elles sont surtout fragiles et vulnérables. Tout est plus lent en eaux profondes: déplacements, reproduction, évolution. La reconstitution d'une population d'espèces détruites peut prendre des décennies, voire des centaines d'années.

Aussi, en moins de dix ans, la pêche en eaux profondes a-t-elle épuisé plus de 80 % de la ressource halieutique d'eaux profondes dans l'Atlantique Nord-Est. Ce n'est pas rendre service aux pêcheurs, ni aux citoyens de cette planète, que d'autoriser cette pratique de pêche sur-subventionnée, non sélective et dévastatrice de nos fonds marins. Pour deux à cinq espèces commercialisables, ce sont des centaines d'autres qui sont sacrifiées, détruites inutilement.

Je vous appelle donc, chers collègues, à voter l'amendement déposé pour mettre fin à la pêche au chalut en eaux profondes et l'interdire, afin de participer à la cohérence d'une réforme ambitieuse de notre politique commune de la pêche.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL). - A situação da pesca da sarda no Atlântico Nordeste exige uma discussão que vai além dos níveis de pesca da Islândia e das Ilhas Faroé. É a própria repartição de quotas entre Estados-Membros que merece uma discussão séria na base de informação atualizada sobre o estado do recurso e do respetivo stock populacional. A evolução do stock tem levado, por exemplo em Portugal, a uma maior abundância relativa da espécie nas águas nacionais nos últimos anos, pelo que a quota portuguesa atual se encontra desadequada face à situação real do recurso, como o demonstra, de resto, o fecho da quota em regra muito mais cedo do que noutros países e numa situação de comprovada abundância do recurso.

As chaves de alocação de recursos entre Estados-Membros devem acompanhar a evolução do stock e a abundância relativa dos recursos em cada zona. Só assim se evita que, em nome de uma estabilidade relativa, se imponha, de facto, uma estabilidade absoluta injusta e desadequada da realidade.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI). - Herr Präsident! Wir Österreicher sind zwar bekanntlich keine Nation von Hochseefischern, die ökologische Situation der Weltmeere geht uns aber auch etwas an. Darum erlauben Sie mir einige Bemerkungen dazu.

Die Tiefseefischerei mit Grundschleppnetzen zerstört bekanntlich durch ihre Vorrichtungen empfindliche Lebensräume mitsamt der dort angesiedelten Arten. Ein jüngst von der Europäischen Kommission veröffentlichter Bericht hebt aber hervor, dass Tiefseearten auch mit alternativen Fangmethoden befischt werden könnten. Diese verursachen nur geringe Schäden an den Ökosystemen der Tiefsee.

Die Schäden durch die Grundschleppnetzfischerei sind ja unverhältnismäßig zum Ertrag. Im Nordostatlantik werden nur circa 0,75 % der europäischen Fangerträge auf diese Art eingefahren. Außerdem zählt die Schleppnetzfischerei zu den Fischfangmethoden, die im Verhältnis zur Menge an gefangenem Fisch die geringste Anzahl an Arbeitsplätzen sichern.

Alternative Methoden wie die Langleinenfischerei schaffen sechs Mal so viele Arbeitsplätze. Der Ausstieg aus der Subventionierung der Tiefseefischerei mit Grundschleppnetzen ist daher aus wirtschaftlichen, sozialen und ökologischen Gründen richtig und auch notwendig.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE). - Este relatório é um bom exemplo do trabalho desejável que pode ser feito no Parlamento entre os vários grupos políticos. E também entre interesses divergentes, como por vezes acontece entre o setor pesqueiro e os ambientalistas.

Partiu-se de uma proposta radical da Comissão e chegou-se a um relatório consensual, que preserva princípios fundamentais da defesa de habitats sensíveis e de manutenção de condições razoáveis de operacionalidade para a frota. Prevaleceu uma proposta realista e pragmática que aposta na investigação dos habitats das profundezas marinhas e na avaliação do impacto das artes de pesca dirigidas às espécies de profundidade, contemplando medidas destinadas à proteção dos ecossistemas marinhos vulneráveis cuja localização deverá ser identificada pelos Estados-Membros e comunicada à Comissão.

Eu penso que este acordo, tão difícil de alcançar e verdadeiro exemplo de trabalho parlamentar, não pode e não deve ser rompido amanhã.

 
  
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  Gesine Meissner (ALDE). - Herr Präsident! Ist es nicht so, dass wir noch gar nicht genau wissen, was in der Tiefsee eigentlich alles los ist?

Man sagt immer wieder, das Meer ist erst zu etwa 10 % erforscht. Und gerade mit modernen Technologien wie Fächerecholot und Tauchroboter ist es seit Ende des letzten Jahrhunderts möglich, die Ökosysteme in der Tiefsee zu erforschen. Man hat jetzt festgestellt, dass es von Nordnorwegen bis nach Mauretanien Kaltwasserkorallenriffe gibt. Gerade in diesen Kaltwasserkorallen, die sehr empfindlich sind und leicht zerstört werden können – und dann nicht ohne Weiteres so schnell wieder wachsen –, gibt es viele – auch wertvolle – Speisefische.

Und ich denke, es ist nicht einsehbar, warum wir dort noch Tiefseeschleppnetzfischerei zulassen sollen. Denn es ist tatsächlich auch so, dass weniger als 10 % – ich glaube es sind nur 5 % – der gesamten Nordostatlantikfischerei aus der Tiefsee ist. Wenn man dadurch riskiert, ein Ökosystem zu zerstören, das gerade gut ist, um die Fische wachsen zu lassen, dann schneiden wir uns selbst ins Fleisch.

Wir haben gerade die Fischereireform beschlossen. Wir sollten tatsächlich konsequenterweise das verbieten, dass das passiert.

 
  
  

ΠΡΟΕΔΡΙΑ: ΑΝΝΥ ΠΟΔΗΜΑΤΑ
Αντιπρόεδρος

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE). - Madame la Présidente, je suis de ceux qui pensent que, dans le compromis de M. Arsenis, on se donne les moyens de préserver l'environnement mais aussi l'activité économique et donc les emplois.

Le gel de l'empreinte, par exemple, permet la préservation des écosystèmes, qu'on le veuille ou non, et la sanctuarisation de toutes les autres zones. Par ailleurs, la présence d'observateurs sur tous les bateaux va permettre de vérifier et de garantir l'équité de tout ce qui se passe. Par ailleurs, nous nous donnons aussi quatre ans pour décider de la poursuite ou non de cette pêche. Je pense donc, très sincèrement, que ce compromis est un bon compromis et j'espère que, demain, le bon sens l'emportera et que le Parlement le votera.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE). - Mr President, we heard lots of self-congratulation earlier on this evening about CFP reform and the fact that we are ending 30 years of failure through over-centralised, one-size-fits-all decision-making, which has completely failed to recognise the very specific nature of the individual fisheries that we have around our coasts. The hard-won compromise led by Mr Arsenis would require Member States to identify and protect vulnerable ecosystems using a science-led approach and an appropriate approach to these particular fisheries. For that reason, I cannot support amendments which now seek to reintroduce a one-size-fits-all policy: an arbitrary level above which all trawling everywhere will be banned.

At one of the hearings referred to by Mr Arsenis we heard an expert who warned us of the unintended consequences of that – and it would be considerable and nothing to do with deep-sea species or the protection thereof – so we cannot credibly expect to be ending the one-size-fits-all approach in welcoming that on the one hand, and then, half an hour later, supporting the exact opposite. I shall therefore be supporting the compromise, hard won. Give it a chance and tailor it to what we need to do to conserve stocks in relation to the exact needs of those stocks and ecosystems.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE). - Señora Presidenta, vamos a centrar el debate. Los científicos nos advierten –y esto es algo que hemos conocido todas y todos nosotros estos días– de que las especies y los hábitats vulnerables de aguas profundas son objeto de algunas de las prácticas pesqueras más destructivas por parte de algunas de las flotas de la Unión Europea. Y no solamente esto, sino que, encima, lo estamos haciendo con fondos de la Unión Europea.

El arrastre de fondo de aguas profundas causa un daño medioambiental considerable y no ofrece ningún rendimiento económico positivo. Este tipo de actividades, además subvencionadas, son con las que pretendemos terminar precisamente mediante la enmienda que hemos presentado para el Pleno de mañana.

Creo que tenemos una gran oportunidad, como lo hemos hecho en el pasado, al aprobar la reforma de la política pesquera. Lo hicimos en su momento cuando aprobamos un Reglamento mucho más estricto para proteger a los tiburones. Lo hemos hecho también en algunas ocasiones de una forma muy clara, cuando hemos mandado un mensaje a favor de una política de gestión mucho más responsable, de no alimentar la sobrepesca. Y mañana tenemos una nueva ocasión para demostrar que este Parlamento está del lado: 1) del sentido común, y por tanto de los análisis científicos; y 2) de las generaciones futuras y de su derecho a poder seguir disfrutando de ese mar, de esos océanos, que, no lo olvidemos, son un bien común.

 
  
 

(Τέλος παρεμβάσεων με τη διαδικασία "catch the eye")

 
  
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  Maria Damanaki, Member of the Commission. − Madam President, I would like to thank all the Members of Parliament for their contributions. It seems that there are different opinions on this issue and it also seems that there are a lot of concerns about the future of the sector. I would repeat that the Commission intends to defend its own proposal. This proposal was well balanced, with a transitional, phasing-out period.

In any case, we are going to respect the vote of Parliament tomorrow and I would like to underline that we are going to facilitate a dialogue between Parliament, the Council and the Commission in order to find the best solution forward.

I would also like to underline that the Commission is going to exhaust all opportunities at the margins to facilitate the transitional period in order to help our fishermen and to avoid the situations already mentioned about jobs lost and so forth. We will await for your vote tomorrow and then I am going to work with you and the Council in order to find the best solution.

 
  
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  Kriton Arsenis, rapporteur. − Madam President, tomorrow this plenary might decide to kill the report; it is a risk that we consciously take. Can I explain why? As Mr Milana said, for 18 months, for three whole presidencies, the Council has not even presented this issue, opened, or even started discussing this issue.

When we reached this huge compromise we actually gave the industry what it wanted: to avoid the threat of banning deep sea trawling. In exchange we got the protection of the vulnerable marine ecosystems. Colleagues, how many of you came to me and told me that this is a compromise which can fly in the Council, that this is a compromise which can be endorsed by the Council?

And yet, one month after we adopted our compromise, the Council did not put it on the agenda, did not even present it. I used this time to talk to the Member States and the presidencies. The best we could get as a commitment from their side was: ‘Vote and we will see’ or ‘We prefer your compromise to the Commission proposal, but let us come together for negotiations’.

If this compromise is further watered down it will become meaningless. Our choice tomorrow is to go for a strong mandate with a ban and go for negotiations, or go for negotiations using our mandate as a starting point and end up with something meaningless. That is why in the Socialist Group we took this decision to support the reintroduction of the ban.

 
  
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  Πρόεδρος. - Η συζήτησε έληξε.

Η ψηφοφορία θα διεξαχθεί αύριο Τρίτη 10 Δεκεμβρίου 2013 στις 11.30.

Γραπτές δηλώσεις (άρθρο 149)

 
  
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  Nessa Childers (NI), in writing. Deep-sea bottom trawling involves dragging heavy metal equipment along the seabed at high speed. This practice destroys fragile eco-systems such as cold water corals and it takes many years for species to reproduce and recover. Deep-sea fish have been over-exploited and deep-sea habitats have already been degraded by 30+ years of trawling. If passed, the ban would be the first of its kind, although it would build on existing prohibitions on trawling in shallower water. It could give the seas some breathing space and fish stocks a chance to recover. This is an archaic practice we need to stop and more needs to be done to protect the vulnerable habitats and species in our seas. Parliament has been active in establishing a positive legacy for the oceans, given our recent votes regarding the fisheries sector, and we should not stop now. This vote is an opportunity to reverse much of the damage done to fisheries and deep-water trawling should be a practice of the past.

 
  
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  Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE), in writing. I voted against this report, which contains many good proposals, as Amendment 62 on Article 9 was narrowly defeated. This concerned the banning of trawling and gillnets below a depth of 600 metres, thus protecting deep-sea species. Deep-sea environments are increasingly ecologically fragile: things happen slowly there due to the cold and lack of light, yet they are ecologically diverse. Disruption of that environment means it takes a long time to recover – just as high-mountain environments take a long time to recover when they are damaged. Deep-sea trawling trashes the environment necessary for ecological diversity, creating long-term damage for a short-term return. This House has missed a valuable opportunity to further help the marine environment (which is increasingly under threat from climate change) by deferring a decision to stop deep-sea trawling. Hence my decision to vote against this report.

 
  
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  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE), kirjallinen. – Meren pohjalla elävät lajit ovat erityisen herkkiä ylikalastukselle. Ne saavuttavat lisääntymiskypsyyden hitaasti eivätkä sen saavutettuaankaan lisäänny riittävän nopeasti kantojen ylläpitämiseksi. Erityisesti meren pohjalla elävät pienet hailajit ovat vaarassa hävitä, ja siksi tänään pöydällä oli troolauksen lisäksi myös ehdotus näiden lajien lisäämisestä haavoittuvien lajien listaan. Kalojen lisäksi myös monet korallilajit kärsivät pohjatroolauksesta. Komission esitys ja tieteellinen näyttö puhuvat pohjatroolauksen kieltämisen puolesta. Parlamentissa kuitenkin monet surevat kiellon mahdollista vaikutusta kalastajien elinkeinon jatkumiseen. Tähän argumenttiin kiteytyy hyvin koko EU:n kalastuspolitiikan pitkä linjakiista siitä, miten tasapainoillaan kalastajien edun ja kestävien kalakantojen välillä: ajaako tämän päivän kalastajien elinkeinoa tulevaisuuden kalakantojen ja kalastajien toimeentulon kustannuksella? Taloudellisten menetysten argumentti ei pohjatroolauksen tapauksessa ole kovinkaan uskottava, etenkin kun EU-alueelle nostettavista kalasaaliista vain prosentti tulee syvemmistä vesistä. Vaihtoehto troolaukselle on lukuisilla koukuilla suoritettava kalastus, ja esimerkiksi Norja kalastaa syvällä merellä ainoastaan tällä menetelmällä.

 
  
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  Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu (S&D), în scris. În zonele de mare adâncime găsim specii și habitate unice, vulnerabile, precum corali și ecosisteme de bureți, care sunt puse în pericol prin utilizarea de metode de pescuit cu impact agresiv, precum traule sau setci de fund. Este foarte important să eliminăm acele unelte de pescuit distructive pentru mediul acvatic și să promovăm pescuitul sustenabil. În acest sens, susțin propunerea de compromis a raportorului privind eliminarea practicilor de pescuit dăunătoare în acele zone cu ecosisteme vulnerabile.

În același timp, sprijin și utilizarea practicilor alternative de pescuit, precum utilizarea de paragate, întrucât acestea nu numai că sunt mai puțin dăunătoare ecosistemelor marine, dar au și capacitatea de a susține de șase ori mai multe locuri de muncă decât alte unelte de pescuit la mare adâncime.

 
  
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  Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D), schriftelijk. – Meer dan 75 procent van de visbestanden in de wereld wordt overbevist en industriële vistechnieken tasten ook ander leven onder water aan. Het Europees Parlement stemt morgen over een aantal teksten dat de Europese visserij alvast een stuk duurzamer kan maken. Eén van de voorliggende dossiers, het verslag-Arsenis, heeft betrekking op de regels die van toepassing zijn op visvangst op grote diepte. Bij het vissen op grote diepte met bodemnetten wordt behoorlijk wat schade aangericht aan de zeebodem, aan koralen en aan andere bestanden van zeedieren dan die soorten waarop eigenlijk gevist wordt. Een amendement om diepzeevisserij met bodemnetten te verbieden op een grotere diepte dan 600 meter zorgt voor ophef. Nochtans is het uiterst belangrijk dat dit voorstel morgen alle steun krijgt. Het verbod op vangst op grote diepte treft in de praktijk slechts een tiental visserijbedrijven die deze techniek toepassen. De zeebodem wordt daarbij afgeschraapt met sleepnetten, wat een ecologische ravage aanricht. Er bestaan echter minder agressieve alternatieven. De Belgische sociaaldemocraten steunen een verbod op het gebruik van sleepnetten op grote diepte.

 
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