The European Parliament voted April 28 in favour of a sound multi-annual plan for fishing in the Baltic Sea, supporting the position of its Fisheries Committee. The vote is a clear call by the Parliament to end overfishing in these waters and to implement the European Union’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) as intended.
Multi-annual plans such as this one are intended to minimize decision-making based on short-term interests and maximize the likelihood of sustainable fishing practices. The Parliament agreed that the plan should match the objectives of the CFP, including restoring and maintaining fish populations above levels that can produce what is known as the maximum sustainable yield, without exemptions.
Furthermore, the Parliament voted in favour of setting fishing limits with strict restrictions and built-in safety margins. This would ensure an end to overfishing and the recovery of fish stocks in the Baltic.
EU fisheries ministers, however, have taken a different approach. Just eight days before the vote in the Parliament, the EU Fisheries Council, made up of ministers from each of the 28 EU Member States, agreed to a position on the Baltic plan that contradicts the reformed CFP and could prolong overfishing in the Baltic Sea for years.
Now both institutions and the European Commission will enter into negotiations—known as trilogue—to reach agreement on a final plan. Pew encourages Parliament negotiators to hold firm on the need to fully implement the reformed CFP and bring an end to EU overfishing.
As we describe in our report Turning the Tide, the CFP can succeed only if those responsible for its implementation do not waiver on meeting their commitments.
Uta Bellion directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ European marine programme.