Posted on 30 May 2013
Political compromise risks continuing malaise of fishing communities
: Early this morning negotiations between the Irish Presidency and the European Parliament concluded with an agreement on the basic regulation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). WWF is concerned that some key issues are being ignored such as decisive actions badly needed to replenish seriously depleted fish stocks.
Despite efforts to reach a deal on this issue by member of the European Parliament, Ulrike Rodust, and her parliamentary negotiating team, the Irish Presidency, representing a divided Fisheries Council led by countries with large fishing industries, preferred to defend a business as usual approach that might delay fish stock recoveries.
"WWF acknowledges the constructive role played by the European Parliament in its attempt to bring about a deal that would reinvigorate a failed fisheries policy. While almost two-thirds of the assessed fish stocks in the EU are overexploited and many fishermen face bankruptcy, the majority of EU’s governments have decided to stonewall negotiations and have refused to accept an agreement that would allow a full recovery and increased income for fishermen within the next 10 years.” Tony Long, Director of the European Policy Office.
The new EU-CFP reform cannot continue the 40 year pattern of negotiations and self-congratulation by politicians, while fish stocks continue to decline.
“Even if the new CFP does not address the deep problem of overcapacity, WWF hopes that we do not return to the old wasteful way of managing EU’s fish stocks. We will continue to ensure that fishermen, and stakeholders, with the support of the scientific community, will have a decisive say over how the industry is run."
The European Parliament and Mrs Rodust’s negotiating team and the Irish Presidency should be commended for their endeavour to provide a real transition to a sustainable CFP despite the Fisheries Council inability to support ambitious goals. The agreement includes some positive elements but fails to end overfishing in the coming generations.
The new deal needs to become a legal framework that helps reverse the current frenzied grab for threatened fish, the overcapacity of fishing fleets and a regime whereby the industry is forced into noncompliance.
"We call on all concerned stakeholders to quickly start working within the new legislative framework for multi annual plans to be drawn up and implemented urgently. The plans need to become the backbone of the new CFP. They must be framed to deliver on the most urgent needs for fish stocks and the marine environment recovery. We also hope that the new CFP provides the basis for forging a truly sustainable foreign dimension for the EU's fleets. While negotiating partnership agreement with Third Countries, the EU shall act in line with international commitments, obligations and policy objectives to achieve sustainable fishing operations outside EU's waters".