Tomorrow, the European Parliament will discuss the report by Ms Lövin on the external dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy. This report is a major and a timely contribution: we need bold external action for sustainable fisheries management worldwide.
The external dimension is an important part of the ongoing Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Overall, our conservation efforts make little sense if we don’t make sure that the same commitment is taken at international level. We need to project the principle of sustainability and its rules on the international arena, ensuring that EU vessels are subject to the same clear rules when they fish in international waters as when they fish at home and creating a level playing field for our fishermen.
Within the package of measures to reform the Common Fisheries Policy, the Commission endorsed last year my proposals for new features on bilateral fisheries partnership agreements, for improving the functioning of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and for stepping up EU’s efforts against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fisheries.
Our agreements need to be developed and improved to deliver a new generation of sustainable bilateral agreements. Local fishermen must have priority and only the surplus on top of their catches should be allowed to be fished. We have to ensure compliance and prevent people from trying to circumvent the rules, for instance by reflagging vessels. The European fishing industry should take over a more important financial share of the costs when acquiring access rights to non-EU fishing zones. Last but not least, agreements should be suspended or terminated in case of human rights violations.
Regional Fisheries Management Organisations have an important role to play in ensuring sustainable fisheries management and transparent and equitable resource allocation, through enhanced compliance and also through freezing and adjustment of capacity where required. The EU is committed to improve decision-making in RFMOs, which should undergo regular performance reviews and see an increase of their funding.
Last but not least, all these policies and measures will make a strong contribution to our sustained action against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fisheries at the global level. Last week, the EU made an important step by pre-warning 8 third countries that their track record in the fight against IUU was insufficient and by opening a formal dialogue on this issue. Further down the road, my vision is the establishment of a global catch and traceability documentation scheme at the UN level.