Endangered fish stocks given chance after EU crackdown

Campaigners welcome reforms including limits on catches and ban on 'discards'

Critically depleted European fish stocks will be returned to a sustainable level, MEPs have promised as they voted through the most radical reforms to fishing policy in the history of the EU.

The reforms, which could come into effect as early as 2015, include measures to protect endangered stocks and a ban on “discards”, the controversial practice of throwing unwanted dead fish back into the sea.

There were jubilant scenes at the European Parliament in Strasbourg as MEPs passed the reform vote by 502 votes to 137. Members of the Green group held up banners showing fish saying “thank you”, as delegates celebrated the end of years of wrangling over the notoriously divisive EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who has led the calls for reform in Britain, praised the MEPs for backing a “strong discards ban and a legally binding end to overfishing”.

Other measures voted through included a transfer of decision-making powers from Brussels to regional fishing organisations, the promotion of low-impact fishing methods and moves to bring the European fishing fleet into line with the available fish stock.

It is estimated that three quarters of European stocks are overfished and there has been enormous public pressure for tougher limits on catches. Under the current CFP quota system, vessels must throw away any fish exceeding their quota, or any species outside their quota.

The new measures would limit fishing to “maximum sustainable yields” – meaning that no more fish would be caught than the existing stock could reproduce. A deal must now be reached between the European Commission and fisheries ministers in EU member states, to ratify the reforms.

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall, who launched the Fish Fight campaign calling for a ban on discards two years ago, said MEPs had sent a “strong message” to the Council of Ministers. “We need to keep fighting to make sure that the implantation of the ban is rigorous and effective and achieves its principle aim: to eliminate the waste of good fish and help the industry towards a more sustainable future,” he added,

“This vote marks a crucial turning point in the battle to save Europe’s seas from overfishing and protect the livelihoods of coastal fishermen,” said Greenpeace’s Oceans Campaigner, Willie Mackenzie.

UK fishing group, The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation, cautiously welcomed the reforms as “a step towards a more rational and effective fisheries policy”, but called for careful implementation of the policies.

“The European Parliament now has a mandate to begin discussions with the other European institutions. We hope that rhetoric and grandstanding will be left behind as the talks focus on the real outstanding issues,” said chief executive Barrie Deas.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Secondary supply teachers needed in Peterborough

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobAre you a trai...

Year 3 Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbridge Wells - £32,000

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...

Year 3 Teacher Plymouth

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering