Letter from Tony Long, director, WWF European Policy Office to all 27 EU Fisheries Permanent Representations
Brussels, 30 April 2013
Concern over threats to block EU fisheries reform
I am writing you to express WWF concerns about the upcoming COREPER meeting on 2 May to discuss how to reach a final agreement with the Parliament on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
We understand from the statements made during the April Council meeting that a number of countries are resisting efforts to find common ground with the European Parliament on key issues such as fleet management, Multi Annual Plans, and discards. The only issue where the Council is currently showing some willingness to compromise with the Parliament is on the subject of stock recovery to levels that can support the so-called maximum sustainable yield.
Recently, the Parliament overwhelmingly voted for a far-reaching reform that would end four decades of overfishing. The Commission and millions of EU citizens support this reform and want to see an end to the misuse of taxpayers’ money and improvements in enforcement and fisheries control. WWF has engaged constructively in the process to remediate many of the past failures of the CFP that have led to a situation in which around two-thirds of European fish stocks are overexploited and almost one-third of fishing jobs have been lost in the last decade alone.
A breakdown of the fisheries reform negotiations under the Irish Presidency would only play into the hands of those countries that want to continue with overfishing and avoid new measures to recover fish stocks and rebuild a sustainable fishing sector. We urge ministers to settle on a compromise that includes a timeline for stock recovery, and implementation of the Multi Annual Plans, targeted measures to eliminate excess fishing capacity while protecting juveniles, and the promotion of low-impact fishing.
We call on the Irish presidency and Member States representatives not to give in to short-sighted positions but instead to re-double efforts to win agreement with all fisheries ministers for an ambitious reform.
Director, WWF European Policy Office