Fisheries policy reforms unveiled

The European Commission has promised fishermen a return to "a decent living" under plans to crack down on the plundering of the seas.

A radical reform of the controversial Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will end a catch quota system which encourages fishermen to dump surpluses back in the sea - adding to the severe depletion of white fish stocks.



The waste must end, said EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, unveiling sweeping changes she said were designed to bring fish stocks back to "sustainable" levels by 2015.



"Action is needed now to get all our fish stocks back into a healthy state to preserve them for present and future generations," she said.



"Only under this precondition can fishermen continue to fish and earn a decent living out of their activities."



The 28-year-old CFP has been blamed for dwindling stocks and declining fishing communities as scientific evidence about the state of stocks forces ministers to impose tough catch quota limits.



But the Commission says national authorities fail to police the limits, allowing hard-pressed fleets to over-fish. Those obeying the quota rules dump the excesses caught in their nets back in the sea - the so-called "discard" problem.



Ending "discards" is a key aim of the new plan.



The Commissioner insisted: "We have to manage each stock wisely, harvesting what we can, but keeping the stock healthy and productive for the future.



"This will bring us higher catches, a sound environment and a secure seafood supply.



"If we get this reform right. fishermen and coastal communities will be better off in the long run. And all Europeans will have a wider choice of fresh fish, both wild and farm-produced."







Under the new system - when approved by EU fisheries ministers - fishermen must land their entire catch, ending a "discard" policy which means up to half the fish netted are thrown back dead into the sea.

The proposal states: "The waste of food resources and the economic losses caused by throwing unwanted fish back into the sea, a practice know as 'discarding' will be phased out. Fishermen will be obliged to land all the fish they catch."



The annual quota system, in which ministers haggle over national catch levels based on scientific evidence of the state of stocks, will be shaken up, with long-term management plans based on the most accurate scientific advice.



The proposed changes also put more control in the hands of regional fishing authorities, which will be responsible for negotiating individual "trade-able" catch shares, giving local fishing communities more flexibility and control over their businesses.



"General (fishing) policy goals will be prescribed from Brussels, while member states will have to decide and apply the most appropriate conservation measures.



"In addition to simplifying the process, this will favour solutions tailored to regional and local needs."



UK fisheries minister Richard Benyon said the plans were a "vital first step" in reviving the state of Europe's fisheries.



"The current CFP has failed," he said.



"It has not given us healthy fish stocks and it has not delivered a sustainable living for our fishing industry. Only genuine fundamental reform of this broken policy can turn around these failures."



He said "less top-down micro-management from Brussels" was crucial.



"For a start, we need to end the unacceptable practice of throwing dead fish back to the sea. It's a terrible waste of perfectly good food and one of the biggest failings of the CFP," he said.



"We have already made big strides in eliminating discards, implementing bans through our innovative catch quota schemes.



"I want to work with the English fishing fleet around the coast to extend these initiatives to new species like haddock, plaice and whiting.



"We will be discussing with herring and mackerel fishermen whether we can eliminate their discards ahead of the Commission's proposed timetable."



The minister said consumers could help reduce discards by buying a wider range of fish.



"Our Fishing for the Markets project, published today, looked at the barriers to creating markets for these, often less known, fish," he said.



"There's clearly a lot of work that can be done with suppliers and the hospitality sector and we will work with them to help promote these different, but tasty, fish."



The Commission document launches negotiations with ministers and MEPs with the aim of agreeing a reform deal in 2013.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
i100
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
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
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
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

SAP Assessor

£26000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: SAP Assessor Job T...

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: SEN Jobs Available Devon

Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

Software Solution Technician - Peterborough - up to £21,000

£20000 - £21000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Solutio...

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