Sustainability and respect for human rights is a future precondition for the EU when negotiating agreements on fisheries with third countries for example in Africa.
'I am very pleased that sustainability, democracy and human rights from now on will be preconditions when the EU enters into agreements with third countries. We have a responsibility to ensure sustainability – also when fishing outside EU waters. It is also very positive that we have agreed on strengthening transparency on the economically, environmentally and social consequences of the agreements,' the Danish chair, Mette Gjerskov stresses.
At the meeting the Ministers also decided to tighten the ban on the controversial finning of sharks. Finning implies removing the fins from the shark and discarding the body into the sea. An exemption in the current regulation means that it is difficult to enforce the existing EU-ban on finning.
'Finning of sharks is unacceptable and must be stopped. Therefore I am pleased that my colleagues have reaffirmed their support of the EU ban on finning. Now we do away with a loophole in the regulation and tighten the enforcement of the ban', says Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Mette Gjerskov.
Today the rules allow fishermen to land the fins in one port and the carcasses in another which makes enforcement difficult. In the future the fins cannot be separated from the body on board the vessels which makes enforcement easier. The EU fisheries Ministers have now decided a ban on removing the fins from the body on board the vessels. The tightening of the ban is now to be negotiated with the European Parliament.
A ban on discard
The Council also had debates on the commission proposal on a ban on discard of fish. There was support for the principles of the proposal and consensus to continue working with a ban on discard as part of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
'A ban on discard is essential for ensuring a sustainable fisheries reform. The amount of discards is provoking to many citizens and NGO’s, and the Danish Presidency supports the efforts of the Commission to reach a ban on discard. Today we have had fruitful discussions on the Commission’s proposal. I am glad that there is a consensus to proceed with the proposal,' says Mette Gjerskov.