EU - The the EU fisheries Ministers have now reached an agreement on a general approach on a proposal for a regulation on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and a proposal on a common organisation of markets in fisheries and aquaculture products, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.
A tweet yesterday evening by Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Mette Gjerskov, who was chairing the meeting, stated that the council also "reached a general approach on discards and maximum sustainable yield (MSY)".
An agreement has therefore been reached on the principles of a discard ban and for the introduction of MSY.
In terms of discards, it was decided that a progressive ban will begin in 2014. The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs states that discards for ‘Pelagic’ fisheries (such as Mackerel and Herring) will be introduced by 1 January 2014 and for ‘Whitefish’ fisheries (Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Sole) there will be a gradual process starting on 1 January 2015 and fully in place by 1 January 2018.
Richard Benyon, Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, said: “After years of pressing to eliminate discards it was always my aim to get the Council to agree to end this wasteful practice as soon as possible. While I am disappointed that the Council has not agreed the firm dates that I was seeking, a commitment to eliminating discards is a step in the right direction."
For MSY, it was decided that it will apply to some species in 2015 with all species being covered by 2020.
The council also discussed that there will be more regionalisation of decision making, with less coming from Brussels.
Discussing the common market organisation for fisheries and aquaculture products, the council decided on an end to intervention for fish products, a greater role for the producer’s organisation and more information for consumers, such as an EU sustainability label.
The progress of the negotiations on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund were also discussed.
”I am very content that we have succeeded to finalise some of the main negotiations within the EU fisheries policy. This means that we are on our way towards a radical reform that will ensure more sustainable fisheries in future. It is no longer a question if we want a ban on discard – but when and how,” said Ms Gjerskov.
Having reached an agreement, the European council can now start discussions with the European Parliament.