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The European Parliament voted this week to adopt a EUR 6.5 billion budget for the next six years for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

The 16 April decision sets the funding allocation in place to help implement the newly-revamped common fisheries policy (CFP), which the European Union and the European Commission use to set guidelines for fishing in its member states.

The parliament voted in reforms to the CFP last year, amid criticism from activist groups that the CFP was outdated and didn’t do enough to balance commercial interests with environmental protection.

"Our reformed fisheries policy is putting European fisheries on a sustainable footing once and for all,” said Maria Damanaki, European commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, who praised the parliament vote. “To get there will mean radical changes for our fishermen and the whole sector, which needs our financial support. We will co-fund concrete projects in the Member States to help fishermen and coastal communities develop a sustainable seafood industry."

Greenpeace, one of the most vocal advocates for CFP reform, this week reiterated its complaints that the reforms did not go far enough, but in a statement said the group supported the vote, and the new CFP.

“Despite its shortcomings, this reform is probably the most progressive shake-up of EU fisheries rules in decades,” the group said in a statement.

“The ball is now in the court of EU governments,” said Justine Maillot, Greenpeace E.U. policy advisor. “The success of this reform hangs on their political will, and on the measures they now have to implement to help our seas recover by reducing fleets, ending overfishing and promoting low- impact fishing.”

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