Looking after the forests and the fishes Pt3

Continuing the story of todays vote by the EU Fisheries Committee on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy to end discard and prevent overfishing I’ve just received email notification that the vote was  in favour of reform by 13 votes to 10 with 2 abstentions!

Wey hey!! It just goes to show that common sense can ultimately prevail. This is what the press release from the EU had to say:

Stop overfishing: Fisheries Committee approves major reform for “Blue Europe”

PECH Fisheries − 18-12-2012 – 17:28

The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) needs radical reform to cut fishing to sustainable stock levels, end discards, and use better long-term planning based on reliable scientific data, said Fisheries Committee MEPs on Tuesday. Overfishing is widely seen as the worst failure of the current CFP, dating from 2002. The new one is to take effect in 2014.

European Commission figures suggest 80% of Mediterranean stocks and 47% of Atlantic stocks are overfished. The proposal voted in the Fisheries Committee contains clear and strong measures to tackle this problem.

“I am very relieved that we have now cleared this difficult hurdle. I expect that the plenary will confirm our vote in February. After that we will have a strong backing to start negotiations with the Council in order to get the reform signed and sealed” said Ulrike Rodust (S&D, DE), Parliament’s rapporteur on the fisheries reform..

Stop overfishing by ending discards…

Discards – fish thrown back, usually because they are of unwanted species or size – account for almost a quarter of total EU catches. Most of the discarded species die. To end this wasteful practice, MEPs voted to oblige fishing vessels to land all catches in accordance with a timeframe setting specific dates for different fisheries, starting from 2014.

Landed catches of fish that are undersized, for example, would be restricted to uses other than human consumption. Member States must make sure fishing vessels comply with the discard ban.

…and respect maximum sustainable yield

The maximum sustainable yield (MSY) is defined as the largest catch that can be safely taken year after year and which maintains the fish population size at maximum productivity. In today’s vote, MEPs sought to ensure that fish stocks will recover, by 2020 at the latest, to above levels that are capable of producing the MSY, and thereafter to  maintain all recovered stocks at these levels. Ultimately this means more fish, better catches and, as a consequence, more jobs in the fishing industry.

Long-term planning instead of yearly quota-haggling

To achieve sustainability in fisheries, multi-annual fish stock management plans are now established as a priority. A longer term approach should bring greater predictability, and the fishing industry will be able to invest better and plan ahead. Multi-annual plans will be based on more reliable and accurate scientific data, which EU member states will be obliged to collect and make available.

Next steps

The draft resolution on the Common Fisheries Policy was approved with 13 votes in favour, 10 against and 2 abstentions, and should be put to a plenary vote in February.

And other piece of good news for the fishes was reported on the BBC website:


This is an awesome acheivement and one I hope guarantees the survival of all the shark species which live in that area.

23 responses to “Looking after the forests and the fishes Pt3

  1. Pingback: EU fisheries update 04/02/2013 | The Naturephile

  2. Extremely late in my reply, but this outcome is wonderful!! Sorry that I didn’t reply any sooner, but time flies and never find a moment to read all wonderful blogs out there like yours. However, happy to read this outcome 😀

  3. Hopefully we can get a more global view of resources in the future. Our present governing party in Canad is so tied to Big Oil that we are forced to watch, as they use their majority in Parliament, take apart our environmental laws.. Our only hope now is that the First Nations “Idle No More Movement” will become a lightning rod for social & environmental change.

    • That’s a horrible place to be. Especially for a country like Canada which, from the small part of it that I’ve seen, is just too magnificent to be pillaged by morons such as those you have in your government. Why do we keep getting suckered by the lies of these thugs and vote them in? We need to wise up quickly and see these scumbags for what they are. “Idle no more” sums it up very neatly. Fingers crossed that those that know enough and care enough get organised in time.

  4. I just found this post and as I like you…I decided to pass it on…enjoy… don’t thank me…just laugh like there is no tomorrow! 😉

    • That’s a great post 🙂

      I know exactly what he means about that type of ‘birder‘, I’ve got a few stories about them which paints them in a less than favourable light! I loved the picture of the twitcher/stormtrooper at the start – I’ve met a few like that and I’m never sure if they want to see the birds or machine gun them 😉

      Apart from that though, the pictures and stories are ace, thanks for the link.

  5. This is a great outcome and now we just need to stop overfishing in the rest of the ocean. As the Goodies would have said “Cod be praised!”, especially for showing us that overfishing has a direct affect on us all (and on our fish and chips!) 😉

    • It was good result and the email sent out by Chris Davies afterwards expressed surprise at the vote, so a great result. It goes before a Plenary session which Chris is anticipating will be more weighted in favour of reform, but there is a lot of horse trading still to be done, particularly regarding the control of overfishing to maintain the minimum sustainable yield. Fingers crossed though, it’s a good start. I’ll be updating here as and when news becomes available.

      Did you you see the link about the Cook Islands shark sanctuary? That’s fantastic news too and I’m really pleased about that – it covers an area similar to Australia so will hopefully help to safeguard some of the ocean going sharks which are so vital to maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem.

      • Devil’s elbow (the patch of the Tamar River that we live on) is a protected shark nursery. They were going to build a pulp mill just around the corner but the company went broke (no small thanks to the GFC and a small but most determined band of “greenies” who wouldn’t give up…). You will forgive me for being somewhat suspicious of governments, new laws etc. when I have seen first hand that if big business wants to bypass the law/regulations, and they have enough clout/money then most of the time they get their way. The shark nursery, the seal colony who lived on the position in the harbour where they were going to put their waste outlet and the sensitive marine environment were not even considered when “jobs” were the main drawcard. The same thing is happening in the Tarkine wilderness, Australia’s largest temperate rainforest and where mining has just been approved and “JOBS” are the way that this company managed to bypass our “environmental minister”. Being on the coalface of environmental terrorism and seeing these businesses manipulate conditions to their favour by waving monetary carrots (and the promise of a few years more in government) to desperate officials certainly makes you see how the “real world” works. We will be fighting the mining of the tarkine like we are fighting for the forests and we won’t give up! I am really glad that Chris was surprised because sometimes it is incredible to have a win after watching the environment lose to big businesses sway and profit making power again…and again…and again…I am celebrating the shark sanctury too because sharks are not given the protection that they deserve here in Australia and in Georgetown, just around the corner from us and just outside the shark nursery you can see the beaches littered with shark fins…a most poignant reminder that where there is sanctuary…the real “sharks” are always waiting around the edges.

      • You don’t need to seek forgiveness for being suspicious of governments – it sounds as though your government as well as ours, and probably nearly all the others, are prepared to ride roughshod over the wishes of the electorate in pursuit of personal interests. They’re like cold bath water – the scum always floats to the top! In these straitened times playing the ‘job creation’ card always holds sway, but what I find depressing is that there could be so much potential for job creation in protecting the planet rather than destroying it. But politicians seem to prefer destruction, at least until it impinges on their own cosy existence.

        I’ve just read a post in the ‘Woodland Matters‘ blog from the Woodland Trust here in the UK highlighting that our so-called ‘Communities Secretary’, Eric Pickles (referred to as the ‘Rt Hon’ which is highly misleading as I can’t see anything ‘right’ or ‘honourable’ about the man, just a glance at him shows he’s driven by greed and revolting over-consumption), has published a statement denouncing EU Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA’s) and he’s taking aim at a whole raft of environmental protection directives:

        In his statement, Mr Pickles lists a range of other directives which he suggests have created “regulatory creep” and which, in his view, impose “additional and expensive requirements on the planning system”. The other regulations highlighted are “the strategic environmental assessment directive, flooding directive, habitats directive, wild birds directive, waste framework directive, revised waste framework directive, Seveso II directive, public participation directive, renewable energy directive, energy performance of buildings directive, environmental noise directive, draft airport noise regulation, energy efficiency directive, draft regulation on trans-European energy infrastructure, water framework directive, air quality directive and the draft soil framework directive”.

        There is a suggestion in the same post that properly implemented EIA’s can actually speed up the planning process and make it more efficient, not as Pickles suggests imposing “additional and expensive requirements on the planning system”. But it seems the sway held by the industrialists is more important to him than protecting our country.

        But on the upside, us voters are far more empowered than we ever used to be now we can mobilise opinion en masse via the internet and let the powers that be know we don’t like what they’re doing. The vox populi needs to speak loud and speak often to keep these idiots in check 🙂

        Good luck with your campaign to protect the Tarkine Wilderness!

      • They have just approved 2 mines now…1 open cut in the Tarkine and a tin mine…it seems like open slather on Australia’s only temperate rainforest and you are right…social media has given the common man wings! Back when they were going to log the Gordon river to make a dam, WAY before social media was even thought about all of the “hippies” from all over Australia AND the world (your own David Bellamy was right there with us) came down to save this wild river from destruction. It actually brought down a Prime Minister in the process! The opposition stepped up and said that they would ensure that the dam didn’t go ahead and got voted in by a huge margin of upset voters…the environment IS important to the electorate and to say that “jobs” is the only reason for pushing these environmental nightmares through post haste is to keep ignoring the peoples desires…at their own peril! BUT the problem that we have here in Tasmania is that the devil we already know (the mine and job pushers) are actually pairing with the greens party and are being kept a little bit honest by the marriage… the opposition are worse and look like getting in at the next elections so it should be open slather on anyone who wants to rape and pillage our beautiful state once they get elected and they will find some way to destroy the forest peace deal because they have been bucking it the whole way and have managed to stall it at the highest governmental level now by having enough of their cronies in the upper house of government (our equivalent to your house of lords without the nobility 😉 ) to send the bill off to a “senate enquiry” which is a way to pay some of their mates exorbitant amounts of money for stalling something. I am MORE than suspicious of politicians (psycopaths the lot of them!) when it comes to self serving and the day that they realise that education empowers “the people” is the day that they start trying to limit it. There are already measures underway to attempt to limit social media’s power but there will always be an undertow of people willing to do what it takes for what they believe in. I am just incredibly glad that the social tide is turning towards the environment and that people are starting to see it as a real issue (no small thanks to “trending” 😉 ). You will hear more about the Tarkine in the internation news as the environmentalists have promised a bigger fight than the Franklin dam fight…lets see if we can dislodge a government AND the opposition and expose them all for the money hungry frauds that they are! 🙂

      • It sounds as though you guys really have your work cut out as passionate environmentalists. The politicians can’t be allowed to restrict internet access and the idea of them limiting education to keep the population in its box sounds like totalitarianism pure and simple. You’re dead right about the politicos being psychopaths – the problem is that people who seek to be politicians thereby automatically disqualify themselves from the job, but decent honourable folk who really do have the greater good at heart aren’t interested in the job. So if the status quo prevails we’ll continue to place our future in the hands of obnoxious greedy scumbags who are up for sale to the highest bidder. What we need is a good old fashioned revolution 😉

        Anyway, make sure you give ’em hell over the mining, it would be a magnificent achievement to defeat them on that. Happy Christmas guys, and a happy and fruitful New Year to you!

      • A most wonderful Christmas and a productive and happy New Year to you and yours Finn and here’s to the New Year bringing positive change all round 🙂

      • Thanks Fran, I’ll drink to that! Cheers 🙂

  6. This is excellent news!

  7. Hurrah for the reform and for the sharks!

  8. It’s great news! Thanks for following this Finn.

    • Not a problem Adrian. As you’ve probably noticed I have a Campaign Trail page on The Naturephile for this kind of stuff but I wanted to showcase this one in my Home page because I thought it was so important. Even if humans completely destroy the land I live in hope that some corners of the oceans will survive.

      I’ve enjoyed covering the fisheries vote and I’m now signed up with the EU for news updates from various committees so I’ll try to cover a lot more of these issues on the ‘Campaign Trail’ page.

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