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Fishy goings on in Brussels?

September 14, 2012 12:20 PM

By Deborah Newton-Cook

Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats
This week, the European Parliament started to address the problem of the over-fishing of our fish stocks. The EU is in the process of reforming the Common Fisheries Policy. Early risers may have heard about this issue on Farming Today on Radio 4. According to available data between 60-80% of our fish stocks are being over fished.
Yes, can you believe that! And we have data on only 35% of fish stocks. So that means we do not have data on 65% of our fish stocks. Goodness only knows what is happening there.
There were two key votes this week. The first was on above Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). This called for fishers not to fish above a level that allows stocks to rebuild. Sadly, this was lost, despite it being an internationally binding commitment to do this by 2015, that we signed up to in 2002.
The other was on the question of discards. This is the practice of fishers to throw back into the sea dead fish which have been mistakenly caught. The plan is to get these fish brought back and put on the market, too. This went through, but without a commitment to a date to achieve this.
A long road.
At least the previous Danish Presidency of the Council achieved a "General Approach" which did commit the EU to achieving MSY by 2015, and a discard ban for most fish by 2016. It is not often that the EP is behind the Commission and the Council, but on this issue it is.
All is not lost, as this was a dress-rehearsal for the really big vote on the basic Regulation on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Anybody wishing to know more on this subject can see what that EP adopted here: