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Parliamentary questions
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27 April 2021
Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000475/2021

Designation and management of marine protected areas (MPAs) does not necessarily entail closure of fishing activities altogether, but rather establishing effective fisheries management measures according to the conservation objectives of the areas and on the basis of the best available scientific advice.

This may lead to prohibiting certain fishing activities in protected areas when it is necessary to fulfil the ecological requirements of the natural features which are the subject of protection.

As announced under the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030(1), the Commission will present an action plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems(2) by end 2021.

It will announce further action as regards the protection of sensitive species and habitats, as well as propose necessary measures to limit the use of fishing gear most harmful to biodiversity, including on the seabed. In particular, it will look at how to reconcile the use of bottom-contacting fishing gears with biodiversity goals, given that it is now the most damaging activity to seabed.

Any future measures would be based on scientific evidence and considered in the light of the objectives of the common fisheries policy, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive(3) and the Birds(4) and Habitats(5) Directives. They will be implemented in a fair and just way for all.

The EU funds like the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund will continue supporting the transition to more selective and less damaging fishing techniques.

(2)This Action Plan is intrinsically linked to the report on the implementation of the new Technical Measures Regulation (Regulation 2019/1241), which will assess the progress (or lack thereof) of attaining the targets and objectives of this regulation.
(3)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) (Text with EEA relevance), OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p. 19‐40.
(4)Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds, OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7‐25.
(5)Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7‐50 .
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