December 11, 2013


EU new Common Fisheries Policy to take effect early next year


With an aim to transform fishing practices in Europe, the EU Parliament has agreed to enforce the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) by January 1, 2014.


The final deal follows more than three years of difficult negotiations, in which the UK took the lead to secure significant reform of the fundamentally flawed current CFP.


The new Common Fisheries Policy will radically transform fishing practices in Europe. Reforms include: a ban on the wasteful practice of discarding perfectly edible fish; a legally binding commitment to fishing at sustainable levels; decentralised decision making, allowing Member States to agree the measures appropriate to their fisheries.


Throughout the negotiations the government fought for a commitment to firm dates to ban discards. Now that the reformed CFP has passed its final vote a ban on discarding in 'pelagic' fisheries (such as mackerel and herring) will take effect on January 1, 2015 with a further ban on discards in other fisheries starting from January 1, 2016.


The new laws will also allow countries to work together regionally to implement measures appropriate to their own fisheries, rather than be subject to ineffective micro-management from Brussels. This 'regionalisation' process has been a top negotiating priority for the UK government which built support for reforms to replace the over-centralised system that currently hinders progress in our fisheries.


The vote also secures for the first time, a legally binding commitment to fishing at sustainable levels. This will ensure annual quotas will be underpinned by scientific advice, to achieve healthy fish stocks and a prosperous fishing industry. This commitment and the 'regionalisation' process will both come into force from January 1, 2014. The UK's priorities for a number of stocks at next week's EU Fisheries Council will be strongly influenced by the forthcoming legal commitment to fish sustainably, as well as ending wasteful discarding.

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