Support for the reform of the EU fisheries policy
A majority of ministers agreed today on a general approach covering the main proposals of the common fisheries policy (CFP) reform package. Pending the position the European Parliament adopts at first reading, this general approach paves the way to a new basic regulation and a new Common Market Organisation (CMO).
"I am very content that we have succeeded in finalising some of the main negotiations within the EU fisheries policy," stated Mette Gjerskov, the Danish minister presiding over the meeting.
The agreement on the basic regulation covers the following main issues:
- Maximum sustainable yields (MSY, i.e. the maximum catch compatible with preservation of the stock) will be introduced between 2015 (for some species) and 2020. In cases where cross-border stocks involve third countries there will be a consultation;
- Discards - the throwing overboard of unwanted catches - are considered as waste and will be eliminated through a gradual approach;
- Stocks will be managed in a more decentralised and flexible way in the EU regions, so as to take more account of the real level of the resources. Multiannual plans established by the member states will ensure the management of the fishing stocks on a long term basis by including quantifiable targets, safeguards and measures to be taken.
In addition, the agreement foresees the introduction of a voluntary scheme for transferable fishing rights (or "concessions") to fishermen on quotas for exploiting the resources. This measure should help to limit the overcapacity of EU fishing fleets.
As regards the CMO, key elements of the new structure are the maintenance of the current intervention system (which should be progressively phased out through the new fisheries fund - see below), increased support for producer organisations and improved information to consumers.
Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of ministers welcomed a progress report on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for 2014-2020. This fund is to replace the existing European Fisheries Fund and is to finance the ambitious CFP reform once the multiannual financial framework (MFF) has been established.
Council press release (pdf)
Council debate, part 1 (video in several languages)
Council debate, part 2 (video in several languages)
Press conference (video in several languages)
TV newsroom (videos)