MEPs back fisheries policy reform
MEPs have backed the biggest reform yet in the EU's much-criticised fisheries policy – vowing to ban discards, restore fish stocks after years of failed conservation measures and to return profitability to fishing communities.
Measures, approved in a vote in Strasbourg include banning within three years the current practice of dumping dead fish back in the sea – a consequence of current Common Fisheries Policy rules restricting the size of landed catches under a complex system of quotas.
The deal also offers more control over managing the CFP to regional fishing organisations. No agreement is complete until a last stage – a three-way negotiation involving MEPs, EU fisheries ministers and the European Commission.
But the fact that the European Parliament now has "co-decision" powers over fishing policy means more clout for the measures MEPs and the Commission have put on the table.
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Labour MEP Linda McAvan, who represents Yorkshire and the Humber, said she was "thrilled", adding: "It's estimated that over a million tons of discarded fish have been dumped back in to our seas which is a shocking and wasteful reality. With over 60 per cent of fish stocks being overfished, there's a real danger that the amount of fish available for the dinner tables will be depleted in the not too distant future.
"It's no wonder that European citizens wanted to see a real change in how we manage our fisheries. With luck, today's vote means we can now deliver that change. Now we need EU governments to back the changes we agreed on."