Those fighting to reform fisheries are celebrating today after the European Parliament approved a major reform by an enormous majority.
Parliament was having its say in the ongoing attempt to shake up Europe’s controversial Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), as long demanded by scientists and conservationists who have warned that many fish species are being harvested at levels far beyond what is sustainable.
As well as voting to end the practice of throwing back fish that are not target species or are too small (so-called ‘discards’), members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also threw their weight behind the concept of ‘maximum sustainable yield’. This is the idea that fish stocks should be managed to maintain the wild population at a level that provides the maximum possible yield on a permanent basis.
“We have shown today that the European Parliament is anything but toothless. We have used our power as a co-legislator, for the first time in fisheries policy, to put a stop to overfishing. Fish stocks should recover by 2020, enabling us to take 15 million tonnes more fish, and create 37,000 new jobs,” said Ulrike Rodust, the Parliament’s rapporteur for fisheries reform. Rodust’s report was passed by her colleagues by 502 votes for to 137 against (press release).
Campaign groups, researchers and MEPs who have waged a long campaign for a radical shake-up of the CFP were celebrating today.
MEP Chris Davies said that the vote would provide a “strong negotiating position” in the discussions Parliament will now have with the European Council and Commission to agree on the final legislation. Previously those bodies have seemed less keen on a wholesale shake-up (see ‘European fisheries reform stumbles forward‘).