Liberal Democrat MEP and European Environment Spokesman Chris Davies has welcomed news that national ministers meeting in Brussels have set annual fishing quotas that will allow fish stocks to recover in 2014.
The reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy, which will legally require fishing quotas to be set at sustainable levels based on scientific advice, does not technically come into force until 2014. However, ministers agreed to abide by the new rules for setting the catch and days-at-sea limits for 2014. Under the new quotas, 30 fish stocks will be at scientifically-advised maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels by 2015, up from 25 stocks at present. Fishermen are also to receive support to help them adjust to the forthcoming ban on discarding fish.
Chris Davies, who formed the cross-party ‘Fish for the Future’ group to campaign for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, commented:
“This is an important step towards sustainable fishing in Europe. Ministers have shown they are at last willing to implement reforms and to set quotas in line with scientific advice.
“Cod stocks in the North Sea have risen for seven years in succession, and with the right approach the same will be achieved in other fisheries. We have had the pain; soon we should start to see the gain.”