The European Parliament endorsed yesterday with an overwhelming majority of 659 to 11votes the proposal that the European Commission tabled in December last year, authorising the Commission to impose a range of measures against third countries that allow unsustainable fishing. The Regulation will allow the EU to better protect fish stocks shared with third countries. The measures foreseen will range from restricting imports of fish products from the concerned stock as well as associated fish species to restrictions on the provision of port services for vessels from the third country. This legal instrument will become an integral part and a key tool of the overall Common Fisheries Policy, as it aims at ensuring sustainability. The rationale is simple: unsustainable fishing is lucrative and will always be tempting for some. But we simply cannot afford to let any third country nullify our industry’s efforts and our conservation work. This instrument gives us the means to prevent that.
In that framework I think it is time to pay tribute to the European Parliament, particularly the rapporteur Pat de Cope Gallagher and the entire Fisheries Committee. Also the council of ministers has reacted positively till now. Both institutions took my proposal forward in a fast speed because they understood the urgency under which the Commission has drafted this regulation.
If the European Institutions work together on a common objective and the Commission has a clear proposal, things can work out effectively. I am confident that the final adoption of the Regulation by the Council of Ministers will proceed swiftly.
So what’s next after that? The proposal will be signed in October and subsequently published in our “Official Journal” to become valid and applicable legislation. This is good news for fish stocks and fishermen fishing sustainable. Because their arguments can from now on being enforced against third countries plundering the seas.
Our negotiators going to London in October to hammer out a Coastal State agreement on mackerel in the North Eastern Atlantic will take the regulation along in their backpack. Yes, we want a serious, fair and sustainable deal on mackerel. It should be clear by now that we mean it and that we can enforce it.