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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Discard ban: EU Fisheries Council takes decisive stance

"The Council took a decisive stance for a real discard ban, with a clear and binding timetable and covering all species”, reacting to the outcome of the last Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting held between 25 and 26 February 2013, discussed the main Regulation on the Common Fisheries Policy, proposed by the Commission in July 2011, as part of the package for a new, reformed fisheries policy for the EU.
The agreement will see the discarding of edible fish banned for stocks including herring and whiting from January 2014. A ban for white fish stocks was also agreed, to begin in January 2016.
The vote comes after the MEPs backed overwhelmingly on 6 February the proposition to end over-fishing and restore EU sea stocks by 2020.
UK has hailed the agreement as ‘historic’, the Guardian writes. Currently,  two thirds of fish caught by European vessels is thrown back into the sea, already dead.
However, commenting on the Council outcomes, the WWF’s European Policy Office said that the Fisheries Ministers kept an unambitious position, as “strong demand to end overfishing and achieve fish stock recovery made by the European Parliament only few weeks ago has fallen on deaf ears”.

Following this council, the Irish presidency will receive a mandate to commence the trialogue negotiations together with the European Parliament and Commission. The Council meeting was focused on the on the environmental obligations of Member States and on the ban of discards. These were the remaining parts of the main Regulation to be agreed on (after the partial approach in June 2012 under Danish Presidency). The main regulation, however, is only one of three files in the fisheries reform. Already next week trialogues will start on the Common Market Organisation. The third file, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, has not yet been voted by the Parliament.


Source: European commission, The Guardian, WWF