Despite several improvements after the 2002 overhaul of the common fisheries policy (CFP), there was a general consensus that the CFP urgently needed further reform, because it had failed to make fishing sustainable, as EU member states’ fleets still catch far more than marine ecosystems can replace.
Today, 88% of Mediterranean stocks and 39% of Atlantic are overfished, due to surplus fleet capacity, excessive catches and patchy compliance with EU rules. It was also considered that “discards” (unwanted fish thrown back, often dead or dying, at sea) remain unacceptably high.
In 2011, the European Commission proposed a new fisheries law in the EU, and MEPs played a crucial role in shaping reforms based on this proposal, as the Parliament was, for the first time, on an equal footing as co-legislator with the Council, following the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty.
On 30 May 2013, measures to stop overfishing and ban discards, Parliament's key common fisheries policy (CFP) reform aims, were safeguarded in a deal struck by Parliament and Council negotiators. The deal should allow a more sustainable common fisheries policy to take effect on time, at the start of 2014. The final (second reading) vote on the text of this agreement takes place on 10 December 2013.