The Greens/EFA group has condemned the decision of the majority of MEPs to back fishing legislation without guaranteeing meaningful sustainability targets.
MEPs voted today on the trilogue outcome on the Multiannual Management Plan for the North Sea. While the Common Fisheries Policy sets an upper limit to fishing intensity (known as F-MSY), the North Sea Plan allows fishing at higher levels than allowed under the basic regulation.
The European Commission and the Council used a dubious interpretation of the limits when negotiating the Multiannual Management Plan for the Baltic Sea, and have applied this again to the North Sea. This will result in fishing in excess of sustainable levels, and at odds with the provisions of the Common Fisheries Policy. The Greens/EFA group tabled an amendment to mitigate against this, but this was not taken.
Greens/EFA fishing policy spokesperson Linnéa Engström comments:
“This is a complete abdication of responsibility. The Common Fisheries Policy sets out much-needed limits on fishing intensity. But as long as the Council and Commission treat these ceilings as a negotiable extra, they will be meaningless.
“We will continue to push for sensible limits for fishing. Ultimately, it is only restraint that can safeguard fish stocks and secure the economic future of the communities dependent upon them.”
The European Parliament will also vote tomorrow on a report from Linnéa Engström, setting out proposals for controls to EU fish imports. The report calls for all imported products to comply with EU conservation and management standards and for much greater focus on the social, economic and environmental impact of fishing in Free Trade Agreements. She adds:
“We have set out a number of concrete steps that the EU can take to raise the standards that imported fish must meet, thereby helping to raise standards globally, give consumers greater confidence and guarantee a fair deal for the EU fishing industry. The sheer volume of fish imported into the EU gives it tremendous clout and we must use this market power to drive up standards across the globe.”