Members of the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg this week backed a blueprint for ambitious reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy
in an eagerly-anticipated parliamentary vote yesterday by 502 votes to 137
- the first time the European Parliament has had a major role on EU fisheries policy under the process of co-decision. [See how our six MEPs voted in the graphic below left]
The full reform package
includes measures to protect endangered stocks but the headline of the vote is on the key issue of discards, with MEPs calling for a complete elimination of discards with no exemptions – a position that has been hailed as “a great success for the future of our seas
” by South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling
Speaking after the vote, she said
: “I am absolutely delighted with the voting today. This has been a long and hard-fought campaign. Finally MEPs have united to say that discarding good fish is not acceptable and it must stop.
“The whole report was emphatically adopted, meaning no discards, restoration of stocks to sustainable levels, more environmental measures and more regional decision-making.
“Both fishermen and the environment will benefit from today's voting on the Common Fisheries Policy, in the future there will be more fish in our seas and good fish will not be thrown back overboard. Everything a fisherman catches must be landed, no exceptions."
Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson
was similarly pleased and said
: "Today's vote is historic and follows a long campaign to win support across party lines. Celebrity chefs like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have done their bit too to raise awareness in the media of the crazy way we have been destroying our fish stocks in recent years.
"EU governments have put short term interests above scientific advice and clear evidence that once common species like cod, herring and mackerel were vanishing from our seas. This huge majority puts Parliament in a strong negotiating position with EU governments in the Council of Ministers.
"Ireland, which holds the presidency of the Council of Ministers, has backed reform and has declared they want this agreed by the end of July. This is important as the Council has been a stumbling block to reform in the past,
” he added
"This is a victory for consumers who have demanded that we must stop overfishing, rebuild fish stocks, and end the waste of millions of tonnes of edible fish thrown back into the sea as 'discards' each year.”
The new Common Fisheries Policy is due to come into effect from 2014 and the approval of the Parliament will mark the start of final negotiations with the EU fisheries ministers at the European Council.
See also: MEPs Girling, Watson and Dartmouth have their say on latest CFP reform proposals
Labels: Graham Watson, Julie Girling