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Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

The future of European fisheries depends on decisions being made now.

Fishing trawlerThe reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is at a crucial stage right now: a white paper presented by the European Commission today (13th July 2011) drafts what the policy may look like when it is formally adopted in 2012.

MCS feels that the reform of the CFP does not go far enough to ensure the future of our fish stocks, either economically or environmentally. Since its inception in 1983 the CFP has strived to manage our seas to promote a profitable industry. It has failed. Over 70% of fish stocks in the EU are overfished or fully exploited; how do they intend to manage a fishery if there are no fish left in the sea? To ensure the sustainability and profitability of our seas, the EU Commission must strive to achieve the most ambitious targets of the CFP reform. We must, essentially, ensure the achievement of at least Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) for all stocks by 2015. This could help to restore fish stocks to levels which can be sustainably and consistently exploited.

Discarding must be addressed and, with the exception of those species proven to have a high discard survival rate (such as sharks and rays), both commercial and non-commercial species should be subject to a discard ban to encourage sustainable practices. MCS wants to see management plans which are long-term, multi-stocked and ecosystem-based which are founded solely on sound scientific advice, such as that provided by ICES. It must allow for integration with legislations such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the Birds and Habitats Directives.

The problem of fishing fleet overcapacity must be addressed and the fleet of each member state restructured. Those individuals who have been shown to have increased the selectivity or fuel efficiency of their vessels should be allowed preferential access to fishing areas. Aquaculture has been addressed in the CFP reform draft but has been given little attention - MCS demands that the EU Commission must only promote aquaculture that does not rely on, or lead to, overexploited feed fisheries and protects the environment upon which it relies.

Read the press release
Read the Joint NGO Statement on the Common Fisheries Policy
Choose sustainable seafood
Sign up to the Fish Fight

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