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The EU moves towards more sustainable fisheries

13-06-2012 07:56:00

Nordic colleagues: Mette Gjerskov, Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Eskil Erlandsson, Swedish Minister for Rural Affairs, at yesterday’s council meeting.

Photo: Council of the European Union

Tonight the EU fisheries Ministers have reached an agreement on general principles for a ban on discard, for maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and for regionalisation of the decision making process.

I am very content that we have succeeded in finalising some of the main negotiations within the EU fisheries policy. This means that we are on our way towards a radical reform that will ensure more sustainable fisheries in future. It is no longer a question if we want a ban on discard – but when and how,” says the chair, Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Mette Gjerskov and adds:

It has been a goal for the Danish Presidency to reach a general approach both to the basic regulation and the common organization of the markets for fisheries and aquaculture and we have reached this goal tonight.

The three main principles in the basic regulation that have been agreed are as follows:

  • Implementation of maximum sustainable yield (MSY).  For some species in 2015 and for all species no later than in 2020. MSY is defined as the largest yield that can be caught year by year without jeopardizing the stock.
  • A ban on discard. The Council agrees on implementing a progressive ban on discard beginning in 2014.
  • Regionalisation. Less micromanagement from Brussels which means more flexible fisheries management.

Common market organisation and the new fund
The Council also reached general approach on the common market organisation for fisheries and aquaculture products.  The key elements in the new organisation are an end to intervention for fish products, a greater role for the producer’s organization and more information for consumers such as an EU sustainability label.

Finally the Council endorsed a progress report on the negotiations with regard to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, EMFF, that is an important tool for obtaining the objectives of the fisheries reform.

The European Parliament and the Council are joint decision makers on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Having reached general approach on the basic regulation and the Common Organisation of the Market, the Council is now ready to start discussions with the European Parliament.

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Jakob Alvi
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