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Parliament Needs to Stand Firm Against Fisheries Ministers Weak Reforms

28 May 2013

EU - During the final Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) negotiations between Council and Parliament, it is becoming clear that certain Member States with large fishing industries, supported by the Irish Presidency, are using bully tactics with MEPs to push them into accepting a deal that will result in overfishing until 2020, and does little to support hard pressed coastal communities, says the WWF.

WWF said that threats by some Fisheries Ministers to walk out of negotiations and thus abandon the whole reform are a slap in the face of the widespread public support for an ambitious deal which spurred an overwhelming majority of 500+ MEPs in favour of strong reform earlier this year.

WWF called on the Fisheries Ministers and the European Parliament to agree on the fastest full recovery targets for fishery stocks. They have it within their powers to ensure that discards, subsidies and stock management are addressed immediately and effectively so that we can reverse, within ten years, the situation where almost two out of three assessed stocks are at crisis level. If we follow the current Council proposal this will not happen for another 100 years.

According to Roberto Ferrigno, WWF’s Common Fisheries Policy reform coordinator: “MEPs like Ulrike Rodust have admirably defended their Parliamentary mandate in negotiations over recent weeks, and have strongly resisted pressure from Council to throw in the towel and reach a quick but weak compromise. The Council’s attitude of non-negotiation goes completely against the spirit of co-decision with Parliament and is completely unacceptable.”

“WWF calls on Parliament and Council to agree on a policy that effectively stops overfishing and allows fish stocks to recover in order to support fishermen in the long term.”

Andrea Kohl, Programme Director with the WWF European Policy Office added: “This is not just the view of WWF, it is also held by progressive fishermen, scientists, industry and the public who all want real and sustainable reform. This deal will guide EU fisheries policy for the next 10 years and in the current situation of depleted fish stocks, we may not have another chance to get it right.

“We need a strong reform allowing fish stocks to recover. WWF is looking very carefully at the non-transparent negotiations which appear to contradict the principle of co-decision and permit blackmail threats to the MEPs by certain Member States.”

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