MEPs approve new EU sustainable fishery regime

February 6, 2013
Fish dealers wait for customers at the Sandakan central fish market in Malaysia on February 4, 2013. The European Parliament approved Wednesday a new fisheries accord hailed by environmental groups as a breakthrough in managing a key food resource which has been over-exploited for years.

The European Parliament approved Wednesday a new fisheries accord hailed by environmental groups as a breakthrough in managing a key food resource which has been over-exploited for years.

MEPs adopted the proposals by 502 votes to 137 and will now take them up with the European Council, which groups the 27 member states.

The measures are meant to restore under-pressure species by ensuring that EU fisheries are run on a 'Maximum Sustainable Yield' basis, a system which leaves a large enough breeding population in place to replenish stocks.

The EU ranks as the world's third largest fishing community behind China and Peru but many species are under severe pressure, with 68 percent of all stocks said to be overfished.

The new fishery regime significantly aims to end the practice of dumping by-catch, those fish which are either unwanted or unsuitable.

The European Commission welcomed the vote, saying it represented real progress—a view echoed by environmental groups which in the past have been very critical of EU fisheries policy.

EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki said she was "especially pleased" with parliament's support "for a policy that is based on exploiting fisheries resources sustainably ... (and) introduces a discard ban."

Damanaki launched the reforms in 2011, aiming to make the EU both economically viable and environmentally sound.

called the vote "historic," bringing the prospect of "a fast recovery of Europe's one step closer."

"This vote signals a momentous shift away from ," it said in a statement, adding that countries such as Spain and France who oppose the measures "will find it increasingly hard to act as proxies for a handful of powerful companies."

Explore further: EU fish discard ban agreed -- for 2019

Related Stories

EU fish discard ban agreed -- for 2019

June 13, 2012

After 20 hours of talks into the early hours Wednesday, Europe's fisheries ministers finally struck a compromise deal to save the oceans from overfishing -- but failed to satisfy environmentalists.

Disputed fish quota cuts lead to tough EU talks

December 18, 2012

EU fishery ministers began difficult talks Tuesday on the vexed question of 2013 quotas as they sought to balance conflicting demands from environmentalists and fishermen alike.

EU keeps controversial fishing subsidies

October 24, 2012

The EU agreed on Wednesday to maintain controversial fishing subsidies, sparking a sharp response from environmental groups who say the payments contribute to overfishing of already stressed stocks.

Recommended for you

Cells lacking nuclei struggle to move in 3-D environments

January 20, 2018

University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have revealed new details of how the physical properties of the nucleus influence how cells can move around different environments - such as ...

Microbial communities demonstrate high turnover

January 19, 2018

When Mark Twain famously said "If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes," he probably didn't anticipate MIT researchers would apply his remark to their microbial research. But a new study does ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.