Protecting fish and marine ecosystems

So far, rules on how, where and when fishermen may fish have been decided at EU level through a lengthy adoption process. Over the years this structure has become super complex - Some simplification is needed.

How did we get here?

Basically – all the rules concerning ‘who gets to fish what fish under which conditions’ have been building up over the years with many, many inflexible technical measures that fishermen had to oblige with. The European Commission realized that all these rules were not super coherent and did not actually protect endangered species in European waters and therefore decided to come up with the – drumroll – Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).


Why is this important for me?

This proposal is an awesome example of the Commission’s current REFIT programme – meaning: These rules are replacing nine(!!) Regulations and simplify five others. These currently highly complex rules have been difficult to keep up with and are now being simplified – pretty nice. Plus: Regions will get to decide a lot more on what’s appropriate for their local fishermen. Regardless of if you agree with the new fisheries framework or not: It is a good example of how rules in the EU actually can get simpler (contrary to common stereotypes). According to the Commission the new regulation will “contribute to delivering maximum sustainable yield for fish stocks, with positive socio-economic and environmental impacts”. So there you go!


What's the content?

The proposal lays out general rules and baseline measures for all seas – but this time with more flexibility and leeway for regions to decide on specific rules for a specific maritime basin. In short: The ability to make guidelines goes back to the local maritime authorities who know their waters (and fishery ecosystems) best! However, definitions of fishing gears, fishing operations, as well as restrictions on by-catches, the use of drift nets and the ban on electric pulse fishing (when MEPs get their way!) will be the same for all regions. Check out the briefing from the European Parliament’s research service for more information on the nitty-gritty details.


What's happening with this legislation in the future?

The European Parliament's Fisheries Committee is responsible for this dossier and came up with its position in November 2017. The EP plenary adopted it in January 2018 and agreed to start talks with the Council who came to an internal agreement already in March 2017. So we will see what the trilogue negotiations will bring for this file.


Related Bills:

Organic production and labelling of organic products

Ban on all kind of driftnet fisheries

Cloning of animals

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