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Commercial Fishing

PARLIAMENT VOTE PAVES WAY FOR EU TRANSITION

Parliament Vote Paves Way for EU Transition

Responding to the May 11th vote by the EU Parliament PECH Committee to pass the Draft report on the implementation of Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy [1,2], which aims to incentivise fishing in the most sustainable manner by giving priority access to resources, Rebecca Hubbard, Programme Director for Our Fish said [3]:

“Our Fish welcomes the outcome of the PECH Committee vote, which sends a clear message to the EU Commission that it must do more to guide EU member states, and for EU governments to ensure they allocate fishing quotas based on a fair and transparent process, using environmental, social and economic criteria, in order to end overfishing and deliver on the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy [4]. These criteria can include climate and ecosystem considerations, the compliance history of fishers, and the contribution to the local economy.”

Article 17 of the European Union’s Commission Fisheries Policy states that “when allocating the fishing opportunities available to them… Member States shall use transparent and objective criteria including those of an environmental, social and economic nature”. It lists as criteria “the impact of fishing on the environment, the history of compliance, the contribution to the local economy and historic catch levels”. Article 17 also outlines that “within the fishing oppor­tunities (i.e. quotas) allocated to them, Member States shall endeavour to provide incentives to fishing vessels deploying selective fishing gear or using fishing techniques with reduced environmental impact, such as reduced energy consumption or habitat damage.

“The EU Common Fisheries Policy is designed to ensure that the transparent allocation of fishing quotas is used as an incentive to improve environmental, social and economic outcomes; in fact it requires it. However, EU member states have so far ignored this requirement and have spent eight years squandering this opportunity to accelerate a transition to low-impact, low-carbon fishing”, said Hubbard.

“Today’s vote adds much-needed political support for harnessing this powerful tool to end overfishing, restore ocean health, deliver climate action, and secure the future of coastal communities, and provides Commissioner Sinkevičius and EU Fisheries Ministers with the perfect opportunity to transition the industry and the ocean to a position where they are in the best possible place to both act on, and withstand, the challenges we are facing with the climate and nature crisis”, concluded Hubbard.