European Union moves to reform fisheries policy

This summer a major reform of the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy was approved by Parliament. Part of this deal to overhaul fisheries policy includes ending decades of over-fishing, the rebuilding of dwindling stocks by 2020 and basing long term planning on sound scientific data.

The plan has three important components: to stop overfishing by ending discards, respect maximum sustainable yield and long term planning. Discards are fish that are thrown back because they are an unwanted species or size. Fishing vessels will now have to bring to land all catches. EU states will no longer be able to set quotas that are too high to be sustainable. Fisherman can catch no more than a given stock can reproduce in a given year. Multi-annual plans will be based on more reliable and accurate scientific data to ensure fishing stays sustainable.

Overfishing is supposed to stop by 2015, with a five-year grace period for exceptional cases. Maria Damanaki, the European fisheries commissioner said, “We are going to change radically the way we fish in the future.”

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