EU representatives have reached an agreement on updating technical measures pertaining to marine conservation and fisheries management.
Ambassadors from the Member States endorsed the accord reached on 13 February between the European Presidency and Parliament which laid out new technical measures to minimise the environmental impact of the fishing industry. The rules cover size specifications for fishing gear, defined areas where fishing is to be restricted and open and closed fishing seasons, among other measures.
The “modernised” rules align with targets laid out in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), aiming to reduce wasteful unwanted catches and the catching of juvenile fish and sensitive species; as well as extending increased protection for seabeds, which can be disrupted by excessive or incautious fishing practices. The measures include a list of prohibited species which cannot be fished; and establish a ban on electrical pulse fishing, a practice denounced by campaigners as destructive.
Adhering to guidelines set out in the CFP, the framework of the updated technical measures allows for a degree of regionalisation; Member States will be able to collaboratively submit joint recommendations and coordinate regional efforts to lowering the impact of industrial fishing on the marine environment, particularly with regard to sensitive species and habitats.
Scientific maritime research will still be permitted to continue, although marine research projects will be subject to strict conditions to ensure they are not actively destructive to surrounding habitats and species.
Petre Daea, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Romania and President of the European Council, said: “This agreement on simpler and better technical measures is a milestone in the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy and for the sustainability of our seas. These rules will make fishermen’s’ lives easier and allow member states and the fishing sector to have a greater say in deciding what is appropriate for different sea basins and local specificities.”