Fishery reform advocates lobby EU on eve of vote

On the day before a landmark European Parliament vote on fishing limits, major environmental protection groups are urging parliament members to act to protect fish stocks in European waters.

“For 30 years fisheries have been pushed to the edge of bankruptcy by Fisheries Ministers who have sanctioned overfishing and listened to scientific advice and limits only 13 percent of the time in the past decade,” said Tony Long, director of the World Wildlife Fund(WWF)’s European Police Office. “Now the European Parliament has a historic opportunity to put this right and succeed where Ministers have failed.”

The parliament voted 13 to 10 in favor of a draft report on fishery regulation in December 2012. The new vote, scheduled for 6 February, will make or break the reforms, which will set new rules to prevent overfishing.

On Tuesday, 5 February, members of the WWF, Greenpeace and other groups lobbied parliament members in Strasbourg, France, pushing for passage of the new reforms.

“After decades of overfishing, fuelled by a bloated and heavily subsidized EU fishing fleet, the European Parliament has a unique chance to turn things around for fish and fishermen,” Greenpeace said in a statement. “For the first time since it gained new powers as a co-legislator under the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has been allowed to weigh into the legislative process on EU fisheries reform.”

Along with the environmental protection organizations, MedArtNet, an association representing artisanal fishermen in the Mediterranean, also lobbied for passage of the new fisheries reforms.

"It is of vital importance that the EU fisheries reform is a strong one, because we don’t have much time,” said Mauricio Pulido, a Spanish fisherman and representative of the association in Spain. “Fishery resources and the marine environment itself are in a bad state. With the previous fisheries policy being a complete failure, it is important to introduce a new model of management for fisheries, if not, the future of fishing in the short term looks uncertain."


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