Dwindling fish stocks, diminishing catches, too many vessels chasing too few fish, steady job losses and a lack of effective control and sanctions…, the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) needs fundamental change.

Following intense consultations with stakeholders, the European Commission today [Tuesday] unveiled an ambitious reform package. The Commission proposes to do away with the annual ritual of setting fishing quotas at too high levels. In future, TACs would be fixed within a multi-annual management plan, on the basis of the most recent scientific advice to ensure that enough fish stay in the sea to replenish the stocks.

The Commission intends to tackle excess fleet capacity by ending public aid for introducing new fishing vessels. More EU money would be available to help fishermen to find alternative work and for the restructuring of the sector. The Commission also advocates uniform and tougher sanctions across the EU. Controls would be reinforced by setting up a Joint EU Inspection Structure. To bring the CFP closer to fishermen, the industry, NGOs, regions and other stakeholders, the Commission is proposing the creation of Regional Advisory Councils.

To achieve sustainable fisheries beyond EU waters on the basis of stronger international co-operation, the reform package includes an action plan against illegal fishing and a strategy for EU fisheries development partnerships with third countries.

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