Thursday, December 4, 2014

04/12/2014: Committee of MEPs votes to undermine discard ban

Yesterday the European Parliament "ignored the voice of the public" and stepped back from the sustainable fishing reform agreed last year, the Marine Conservation Society reports on its website

"In voting to weaken the discard ban, the fisheries committee have muddied the waters for industry and regulators trying to make the changes we desperately need to protect our oceans.” 

Among other damaging changes, EU parliamentarians voted to:
  • Weaken penalties for illegally discarding fish, which will delay the recovery of EU fisheries and undermine efforts by fishers who follow the rules
  • Increase uncertainty by partially delaying decisions until next year, leaving industry and regulators in limbo
  • Make it harder to set sustainable fishing levels by watering down crucial requirements to collect data on fish that is caught.
The amendments passed with 20 in favour, four against and one abstention. This vote will be the basis for implementation of the landing obligation.

MCS Fisheries Officer Samuel Stone says, “This is a real set back to achieving a sustainable future for our shared fisheries. The discard ban represented a radical change in European fisheries management and was a key element of the newly reformed Common Fisheries Policy. 

"It is extremely disappointing to not just see it undermined like this, but to see changes to its enabling regulation that may very well encourage overfishing. Thanks to the public and those UK MEPs who did vote against these damaging amendments, and to our partner NGO Client Earth for tirelessly working on the issue.”

The rules will enter into force in April 2015, following agreement with the European Council and adoption by the European Parliament. However, industry and regulators are ready to follow the agreement between Alain Cadec, Chair of the European Committee on Fisheries, and the Council as soon as the landing obligation kicks in January 2015.

Read more HERE.

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