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Tuesday 18th December 2012 | 15:01
European Conservatives and Reformists group press release
Reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) voted by MEPs this morning should help end the annual political haggle over fishing quotas currently occurring in the Council of Ministers, Marek Grobarczyk MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists group fisheries spokesman, said today.
In a marathon voting session, the fisheries committee set out its position on the major revision to the CFP, which Mr Grobarczyk wants to see end the micromanagement from Brussels and give powers back to EU Member States so that they can use local knowledge to manage their fisheries.
The new CFP would see 'Brussels' only setting the general framework, basic principles and targets but day-to-day governance will be managed at a decentralised level. Fisheries will be managed by multiannual plans, based on better scientific knowledge, to ensure that longer-term decision-making that protects the marine ecosystem. Elements of the package voted on in June - steered through the parliament by ECR VP of the fisheries committee, Struan Stevenson MEP - would alter the so-called ‘Common Market Organisation’ (CMO) so that Producers Organisations (POs) have more of a say over management of fisheries markets and fisherman training. The proposals will also introduce a 'date of landing' label for fresh catches.
The reform also proposes phasing out fisheries discards - the immoral practice of throwing edible but dead fish back into the sea in order to fulfil EU quota limits.
Although generally quite pleased with the direction the reform is moving in, Mr Grobarczyk said the committee's vote still leaves some concerns. In particular, inland fishing and aquaculture should remain competences of the Member States; the CFP now demands member states to align their fishing capacity to available fisheries resources which in some cases might lead to fleet reduction.
Whilst MEPs voted on these reforms, EU Ministers met up the road to discuss the annual quotas for 2013. The unedifying 'Christmas haggle' must be brought to an end by these reforms, Mr Grobarczyk said.
Speaking after the vote, the MEP from Poland's Law and Justice Party said:
"The Common Fisheries Policy needs fundamental reform so that fisheries decisions are made locally in consultation with scientists and fishermen, not remotely by bureaucrats and Ministers sitting in Brussels.
"The reforms that MEPs have adopted are not perfect but they are a good basis for making the CFP a policy that is better focused on ensuring the livelihoods of fishermen whilst preserving fish stocks.
"Fisheries discards are nothing short of immoral and we have put in place measures to end this practice.
"It is utterly wrong that decisions about fisheries conservation and fishermen's livelihoods are made in an annual December Ministerial meeting in Brussels. We need a policy that is far more intelligent than pre-Christmas quota haggling."