European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs Karmenu Vella has welcomed efforts to implement reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy of the EU, and the economic benefits they have brought.
Speaking to the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries (PECH), Vella welcomed the progress across the board in implementing reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy. He drew particular attention to recent progress which has been made towards meeting the 2018 maximum sustainable yield across all stocks subject to total allowance catch limits, and the economic advantages this has created.
What does the EU hope to achieve next?
Vella highlighted that the EU’s aim for 2019 and 2020 is to fish even more stocks sustainably, in line with maximum standard yield and total allowance catch limits. This is not only to improve the health of fish, but also has broader economic benefits for fishing fleets and stakeholders.
Vella explained: “We have clear evidence that more sustainable fisheries improves not just the biomass of the stocks, but also the overall socio-economic performance of the EU fleet. In 2015 our fleet made net profits of almost 800 million euros and we have strong indications suggesting that in 2016 and 2017 this positive performance is continuing.”
Where are more efforts needed?
While welcoming the progress in implementing the reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy, Vella also warned about the upcoming entry into force of the policy’s landing obligation on 1 January 2019. The landing obligation requires all catches of regulated commercial species to be landed and counted against total allowance catch quotes, and has been gradually phased into effect between 2015 and 2019.
Another area where additional efforts are needed is the Mediterranean and Black Sea, where stocks are doing significantly worse than in Europe’s Atlantic waters. The Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration has been signed by 16 countries and now covers 75% of fleets in the region. What’s more, the EU has committed to action in the Mediterranean over the next ten years to prevent the problem from worsening.