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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Ministers adopt conclusions on the external dimension of the CFP

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council stresses the need to promote a more sustainable fisheries policy on its external like on its internal side. Ministers underline that fighting against illegal, reported and unregulated (IUU) fishing needs to be reinforced by building partnerships with other main fishing nations.  Equally, compliance with management measures at the level of regional fisheries management organisations needs more follow-up, governance within these organisations strengthened, and overcapacity problems need to be addressed at the global scale. In the course of the 3155th Council meeting, which was held on 19th March, ministers adopted these and other conclusions,  following the communication of the Commission on the external dimension of the Common fisheries policy (CFP).  
Focusing on third countries, sustainable exploitation levels require transparency regarding the activity of all fleets that were given access, as well as scientific assessments on the surplus of stocks, involving assessments at the regional level when stocks are migrating across borders. Notably, the Conclusions also contain a chapter on fisheries agreements on jointly managed stocks and international exchanges of fishing opportunities. Ministers regognise the mutual benefit and adequate economic return that these agreements must provide, and recall the obligation of all fishing nations involved to cooperate in order to find common ground for sustainable management of stocks which are of common interest.
One has to remember that, on 14 July 2011, the Commission submitted to the Council its communication on the external dimension of the CFP. This contains orientations for the pursuit of fisheries management at the multinational, regional and bilateral levels. The intention was to accompany the programmatic articles on an external dimension in its proposal on a reformed CFP with a more operational policy document which should trigger an update of the Council conclusions on this subject dating from 2000 and 2004 (partnership agreements).
The Council, which had an orientation debate on this issue last November 2011,  considered the priorities to be taken on board.  Moreover,  a number of Ministers supported the Presidency suggestion to adopt new Council conclusions reinforcing the existing ones.

Source: Council of the EU