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Wednesday, 02 May 2012

Ministers discuss key issues of CFP

During the course of the last Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries, ministers held a public debate in the framework of the common fisheries policy (CFP) reform. Regionalization and transferable fishing concessions (TFCs), which are two of the specific issues in the proposal for a regulation on the CFP, were particularly discussed.
A large majority of member states welcomed regionalisation as a flexible approach to adapt to the diversity of regions and countries in the EU. They considered the approach appropriate to tackle in particular multiannual plans but also technical measures. However questions subsisted on the best way to balance the empowerment of member states within the regionalisation and a model where the final decisions remain within a EU framework. Most of member states would like the last word to remain at the EU level in order to ensure a level playing field.
Several member states supported a joint declaration of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom (8965/12) elaborating a proposal for the process of decision within the framework of regionalization.
Views differed concerning the opportunity to introduce mandatory TFCs in the EU. Most delegations considered that such a scheme should only be established on a voluntary basis to allow an adaptation to the situation of each country. Many member states mentioned the threat TFCs could impose on coastal communities and small scale fisheries. Some delegations feared that TFCs could trigger an excessive ownership concentration of fishing rights and would prefer TFCs not being exchangeable between member states in order to avoid jeopardising the relative stability system.
The Commission proposal on the basic provisions of the CFP considers that conservation of marine biological resources is key to achieving the objectives of the CFP; it envisages the reinforcement of multi-annual management plans to manage resources at levels that are capable of producing maximum sustainable yield (MSY), and the ending of the practice of discards.

Source: Council of the EU