Davies: Final agreement reached on rebuilding Europe’s fish stocks

Picture shows Matthias Groote MEP, Chair of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament (left) with Chris Davies MEP (right) and Bill the Cod.

Major reforms aimed at rebuilding Europe’s depleted fish stocks have been agreed by MEPs meeting in Strasbourg today.The new EU Common Fisheries Policy will make it a legal requirement to set quotas for fish catches using maximum sustainable yields, with the aim of rebuilding fish stocks by 2020. It requires long-term management plans to be prepared for every fishery and devolves day-to-day decisions about fishing practice from Brussels to regional bodies.  A ban on the discard of fish will be phased in from 2015.

Liberal Democrat European Environment spokesman Chris Davies MEP, who formed the cross-party ‘Fish for the Future’ group, claimed the new policy demonstrated the importance of Britain playing a constructive role in Europe to achieve reform.

He said: “For too long decisions were made about fishing policy that ignored scientific advice, with the result that Europe now has to import two thirds of the fish we eat. Continue reading

Davies: No fishy EU subsidies for fleet renewal

MEPs in Strasbourg today rejected calls for EU subsidies to be paid for building new fishing boats.

The European Parliament voted to support changes to the Common Fisheries Policy intended to curb overfishing and rebuild fish stocks.

The European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will provide €6 billion towards the fishing industry between 2014 and 2020. MEPs approved payment of subsidies to help fishermen adjust to change but not to catch more fish.

Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies, founder of the cross-party campaign group ‘Fish for the Future’, welcomed the decision as proof that the EU was serious about improving its fisheries policy.

“We still have too many boats chasing too few fish, so to use public money to pay for building new boats would only make the problem worse.

“Grants of this kind were halted nearly a decade ago, when 90% of the money was going to France, Spain and Portugal.  To have reinstated them would have been a crazy step backwards.” Continue reading

Davies: EU Fisheries policy reform achieved

Europe’s common fisheries policy is set for radical reform after negotiators for EU governments and the European Parliament reached agreement in Brussels at 03.00 this morning.

Supporters of the deal claim that it paves the way for rebuilding Europe’s depleted fish stocks and curbing the discard of millions of tonnes of fish each year.

British representatives have played a key role in securing the reform.  They say that it demonstrates how EU policies can be changed for the better.

An obligation to land all pelagic fish, such as mackerel, will commence from 1 January 2015.  Other reforms, which must yet be formally approved by ministers and MEPs, will be phased in over subsequent years.

Long term management plans are to be prepared for every fishery with the aim of increasing fish numbers above the maximum sustainable yield.

Fishermen will have a new role in determining practices appropriate to local conditions as micro-management from Brussels is reduced.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, secretary of the cross-party ‘Fish for the Future’ group in the European Parliament, described the deal as a major step forward that would promote sustainable fishing practices.  Continue reading