Full text 
Procedure : 2011/2899(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document :

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 14/02/2012 - 3
CRE 14/02/2012 - 3

Votes :

PV 16/02/2012 - 8.4
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
PDF 129kWORD 49k
Thursday, 16 February 2012 - Strasbourg
Contribution of the common fisheries policy to the production of public goods

European Parliament resolution of 16 February 2012 on the contribution of the common fisheries policy to the production of public goods (2011/2899(RSP))

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 the Communication from the Commission entitled ‘Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020’ (COM(2011)0244),

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission entitled ‘Rio+20: towards the green economy and better governance’ (COM(2011)0363),

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

–  having regard to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56/EC)(2),

–  having regard to the common fisheries policy reform package submitted by the Commission on 13 July 2011,

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

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

–  having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas fishing is one of the oldest human activities, and whereas fish is an important and indispensable element of human nutrition whose availability should be guaranteed and whose significance should be duly recognised and valued under the common fisheries policy (CFP);

B.  whereas the fisheries sector, which covers both the catching of wild fish and aquaculture, involves activities which contribute to the production of indispensable common goods through three main strands, fishing, processing and marketing; whereas healthy fish stocks, healthy marine ecosystems and the preservation of marine biodiversity constitute important common goods which must be preserved;

C.  whereas sustainable aquaculture, whether marine or freshwater, inshore or offshore, is an important part of the fisheries sector;

D.  whereas small-scale fisheries play a particularly important role in economic, social, environmental and cultural life, which must be duly recognised and valued under the CFP; whereas coastal communities have been hard hit by the decline in the fisheries sector as a whole, which has severely affected small fishing ports throughout the EU;

E.  whereas the reformed CFP should guarantee the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the fisheries sector in the various hydrographic basins, also through the introduction of the decentralised management model which brings decision-making centres closer to the actual areas of activity and increases the responsibilities of stakeholders;

F.  whereas the fisheries sector involves activities dependent on functioning ecosystems, in that abundant fish stocks and marine ecosystems with good environmental status are essential to the long-term sustainability of the extraction, processing and marketing of fisheries products;

G.  whereas the European fisheries sector contributes to social development, by creating jobs directly and indirectly, and to economic growth in Europe, by providing 6.4 million tonnes of fish each year;

H.  whereas the multifunctionality of the fisheries sector is reflected in different areas, for example through the impact it has on socio-economic, historical, cultural, scientific and environmental issues;

I.  whereas fisheries activities have an impact mainly on coastal areas and islands, contributing to their effective management and to their social and economic dynamics; whereas this is particularly important for their communities, which are frequently disadvantaged as a result of the scarcity of jobs and the weakness of local economies;

J.  whereas the reformed CFP should be closely linked to other key EU initiatives in the area of maritime affairs, in particular those outlined in the Commission communication entitled ‘An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union’ (COM(2007)0575), which states that the European fisheries sector can also trigger and enhance a vast array of scientific studies that deepen our knowledge of oceanographic dynamics, ecosystems and the biology of the aquatic species directly or indirectly involved in fisheries activity;

K.  whereas a dynamic, well-managed fisheries sector could make an increasing contribution to European society and the European economy and thus play a significant role in the Europe 2020 Strategy;

1.  Emphasises that the fisheries sector is an important EU industry which provides EU citizens with high-quality food and creates economic and social added value for the European Union; takes the view, therefore, that the reformed CFP needs to guarantee the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources and the preservation of fish stocks at a healthy level, so that fishing activities can continue in their traditional areas and communities in the long term;

2.  Considers that environmental, economic and social sustainability are important objectives of the CFP, and emphasises that the CFP's top priority should be the establishment of a sustainable fisheries sector in order to ensure that current and future generations continue to enjoy the environmental, social and economic benefits of fishing;

3.  Emphasises that fisheries, if properly managed, could make a greater contribution to European society, in terms of food security, employment, and the maintenance of dynamic fishing communities, and in many other ways; stresses that the existence of healthy fish stocks, healthy marine ecosystems and the preservation of marine biodiversity are in themselves common goods which are only produced if fish stocks are managed in a sustainable way and any unnecessary negative impact on the environment is minimised;

4.  Considers it crucial to recognise seas – which cover more than two-thirds of surface of our planet – as a resource which plays a crucial role in producing other natural resources (e.g. fisheries); also considers it strategically essential that the CFP should incorporate clear and precise measures in order to ensure that it can fulfil its strategic role through an eco-systemic approach;

5.  Emphasises that the CFP contributes to the achievement of the targets of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and of the EU's aim of halting biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystem services by 2020 by adopting measures to secure sustainable fisheries, by taking precautionary measures to eliminate destructive fishing, by ensuring the recovery of over-exploited fish stocks and by taking measures to protect species not targeted by fisheries;

6.  Recalls that, at an economic level, the fisheries sector (including aquaculture) is estimated to generate EUR 34,2 billion in annual earnings and that, at a social level, it creates more than 350 000 jobs, including upstream and downstream in the fishing, fish processing and marketing sectors, in particular in coastal areas, remote regions and islands;

7.  Stresses that the fisheries sector has a multifunctional dimension and, that beyond its three traditional areas of activity and its visible impact at an economic, environmental and social level, it also plays a relevant role in a number of other areas, such as the environment, culture, recreation and tourism, science, energy and education, and emphasises in particular the importance in this regard of the small-scale fisheries sector;

8.  Calls on the Commission to take due account of the fact that the fisheries sector plays an important role in the following areas:

   (i) culture – by contributing to gastronomy, ethnography, history, literature, museology, etc.
   (ii) recreation and tourism – by offering many different activities, such as trips out to sea with local fishermen, whale and seabird watching, ecological diving, etc.
   (iii) science – by helping marine scientists, and others, in their research
   (iv) energy – by promoting the development of new technologies which may subsequently benefit society as a whole
   (v) the environment – by safeguarding bio-sensitive geographical areas, as well as coastal areas in which hatcheries and nurseries are located, and also in cleaning the seas
   (vi) education – by developing people's enjoyment of the outdoors and teaching respect for the sea;

9.  Emphasises that, by virtue of its multifunctional dimension, the fisheries sector provides communities with common goods which benefit EU citizens in general, and not only those directly or indirectly involved in fisheries, a contribution which must be acknowledged and valued; notes, further, that considerable numbers of EU citizens, in particular those living in coastal areas, benefit from the multifunctionality of fisheries activities; considers that the multifunctionality of the fisheries sector should be fully taken into account in the financing of the CFP; stresses that the production of these additional public goods must not be used as an excuse to delay necessary reforms of the CFP;

10.  Urges the Commission to assist small fishing ports which have been badly affected by a decline in landings as a result of overfishing;

11.  Stresses that the fisheries sector (which covers both sustainable wild fisheries and aquaculture) is one of the most important pillars of food security in the European Union and that as such its sustainability and stability must be guaranteed by the CFP reform, so that, in the future, it can provide fisheries products of sufficient quality and in sufficient quantity to satisfy demand from more than half a billion EU citizens;

12.  Emphasises the potential of sustainable marine and freshwater aquaculture to complement the role of fisheries in making an important contribution to food security in EU; stresses that a specific policy is needed to guarantee the environmental sustainability of the aquaculture sector; calls on the Commission to establish general qualitative criteria for aquaculture which should be met throughout the EU and which take into account the environmental and social impact of aquaculture; calls, further, on the Commission to ensure that imported aquaculture products have been produced in accordance with the relevant EU sustainability and quality standards, i.e. environmental or animal welfare standards;

13.  Notes that recreational fishing was not tackled in the Commission proposals presented on 13 July 2011; stresses that it should be addressed separately as part of the CFP reform process;

14.  Emphasises that further diversification of activities directly or indirectly linked to fisheries could help to slow down the exodus of workers from the sector, keep regional customs and traditions alive, and halt the depopulation of some coastal areas;

15.  Stresses that fisheries management is increasingly based on scientific data, which stimulates applied research in this area, promoting knowledge and fostering technological development and innovation, in line with the EU 2020 Strategy for promoting smart growth;

16.  Stresses that the fisheries sector depends on the health of stocks and on the balance of the ecosystem, so that the CFP reform must shift the focus back to the sector's role as the guardian and manager of marine resources with a view to creating a more efficient, greener and more competitive economy, in line with the EU 2020 Strategy for promoting sustainable growth;

17.  Stresses that fishing activities, when all their dimensions are considered, including sustainable aquaculture, their direct and indirect impact and the common goods produced by means of fishing activities, guarantee social and territorial cohesion and promote vocational training and social and economic dynamism, in line with the EU 2020 Strategy for promoting inclusive growth;

18.  Stresses that the fisheries sector, both on its own and through the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP), must contribute to achieving the Rio+20 goals for an open economy, and also to creating jobs and eradicating poverty;

19.  States that fishing activities play an important role in the wider context of the IMP and represent a key element in maritime spatial planning policies and in the framework of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund;

20.  Asks the Commission to acknowledge the multifunctionality of the fisheries sector and the value of its production of a wide range of common goods;

21.  Asks the Commission to ensure in its future policy proposals and decisions that the CFP contributes to overarching policy aims, such as the EU 2020 strategy; takes the view that this crucial process of CFP reform must recognise the CFP as a source of development in the context of the European Growth Project and create the conditions which enable it to develop its full potential; asks the Commission to take the specific characteristics of fisheries and coastal regions into account when developing and implementing these policies;

22.  Asks the Commission to integrate the concept of ‘conditionality’, which is already employed in the common agricultural policy, into the reformed CFP in order to ensure positive discrimination for environmentally-friendly fishing practices, for example through better access to funds;

23.  Asks the Commission, in order to promote the development of parallel activities, to find a legal solution which enables fishermen to develop other sources of income within the wide range of ‘fishery-linked activities’ without being financially penalised;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 358, 31.12.2002, p. 59.
(2) OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p. 19.

Legal notice - Privacy policy