New EU Presidency reveals fishery plans for 2016

In the first half of this year, Europe will prioritize the conclusion of agreements on multiannual plans for sustainable fish stock management and expanding the landing obligation to prevent food waste, the new EU Presidency has confirmed.

The Netherlands took over the rotating six-month EU Presidency with effect from 1 January 2016. For fisheries, it has announced its aim to achieve more "in-depth sustainability" as agreed in the framework of the EU's reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

A multiannual Baltic plan on cod, herring and sprat is currently in the works – the first of its kind under the EU's new CFP. After its adoption, the Commission will propose a new North Sea mixed fishery plan in order to support the implementation of the landing obligation, which is gradually being rolled out across the EU.

According to a statement made by the Dutch government last month, these issues “must be seen in both the European and the wider global context,” and “clean oceans are essential for global food security.”

“The Netherlands therefore wishes to use its Presidency to take steps in the areas of Blue Growth and food security,” said Bert Koenders, Dutch foreign minister.

Other issues on the fisheries agenda include the revision of the Data Collection Regulation, reviewing the approach to technical measures, the revision of the Fishing Authorizations Regulation, and achieving progress on the deepsea access regime.

On maritime issues, international ocean governance will undoubtedly continue to play a prominent role, following the European Commission’s public consultation that closed in October last year.

Fisheries and the blue economy are vital to the Dutch and European economies. According to figures provided by the Netherlands, the direct and indirect value of the Dutch blue economy is worth almost EUR 49 billion (USD 53.2 billion) or 3 percent of the Dutch GDP.

In 2013, 224,000 people were employed in this area, or 2.5 percent of total employment in the Netherlands. Most employment is based in Rotterdam, Europe’s main port.

Slovakia will take over the EU Presidency from the Netherlands on 1 July 2016.


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