Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, has welcomed today’s final vote of the European Parliament in support of a new, reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for the EU that she initiated in July 2011. The vote means that the CFP reform has been officially adopted and will now be applied throughout European Union waters as of 1 January 2014.
The new CFP seeks to support coastal communities across Europe by creating the conditions for an economically viable and sustainable EU fishing fleet. It also seeks to ensure sustainable resource management whilst maximising catches for fishermen. In order to support this dual ambition, the wasteful practice of discarding will be stopped gradually with clear obligations and deadlines put in place to allow fishermen to adapt. The promotion of sustainable aquaculture also forms part of the new policy.
Commissioner Damanaki said: “Today's vote by the European Parliament means that we now have a policy which will radically change our fisheries and will pave the way for a sustainable future for our fishermen and our resources. I am very grateful to both Parliament and Council for their commitment, vision and overall support for the Commission's proposals which mean we can now return to sustainable fishing in the short term and put an end to wasteful practices. The new CFP is a driver for what is most needed in today's Europe: a return to growth and jobs for our coastal communities.
The reformed CFP will ensure that the same principles and standards of sustainability will apply when EU fishermen operate in foreign waters and that the EU will continue to push for sustainability in its international agreements. The change in governance and the regionalised initiatives, which will allow stakeholders and Member States to determine many of the details of the daily management of the fishing activity, are indicative of the wide-ranging nature of the reform.
Today's vote is the culmination of a lengthy process which started with an extensive public consultation, following which the Commission put forward an ambitious reform package in 2011. Earlier this year delegations from the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament conducted constructive negotiations which concluded in political agreement being reached in May. The Council of Ministers unanimously supported the agreement in October before the final vote of support was given by the Parliament in today's plenary session.
The overarching aim of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy is to end overfishing and make fishing environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. The reform seeks to establish conditions for a better future for fish and fisheries, as well as the marine environment that supports them. The policy aims to bring fishing back to sustainable levels, with better use of knowledge and scientific advice. It aims to support sustainable growth of the fishing and aquaculture sectors, create job opportunities in coastal areas and ultimately provide EU citizens with a healthy and sustainable supply of fish. The reform contributes to the Europe 2020 Strategy by working towards robust economic performance of the industry and enhanced cohesion in coastal regions.
The first fisheries measures were launched in 1970 by the European Community to provide structural support and a common market in fish. It has undergone several changes since, with the last policy reform in 2002.