The vote in the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament earlier this week on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy gives us good hope for next year. The Committee, based on a report by the German socialist Ulrike Rodust, adopted a position that clearly points into the direction of a more sustainable common fisheries policy.
Members of the Committee supported the key elements of the Commission’s reform proposal. They endorsed the legal obligation to put an end to the wasteful practice of discards according to a binding calendar. They voted for clear provisions that would ensure that by 2015 fish stocks are managed at levels that should allow them to recover by 2020 at the latest above sustainable levels. They agreed with the essence of the Commission’s proposal to end micro-management at the EU level and to allow Member States to take the appropriate measures themselves to achieve common objectives.
It is a promising sign that these key provisions were all supported by a comfortable majority in the Committee. This is a great achievement of the rapporteur, Ms Rodust, and of the Fisheries Committee.
The result of the vote is an important step towards a real reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. I hope that the report’s ambition is maintained during the plenary vote in February 2013 and I am looking forward to a swift adoption of the reform package in the course of next year.