Le Maire: CFP reform proposals ‘unacceptable’


Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
July 18, 2011

Despite warnings from Brussels over threatened fish stocks, there are clear signs that European fisheries ministers will lock horns over fish reform.

On 13 July, European Union Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki unveiled her proposals for reform of the EU’s much-maligned Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Today, said Damanaki, 75 percent of EU stocks are overfished. The market “does not work” because Europe imports two-thirds of its seafood and “too many” fishing fleets live on low profits, she added.

“Business as usual is not an option,” underlined the commissioner at the launch of the CFP overhaul.

However, in an interview with the French weekly newspaper Le Marin, French Fisheries Minister Bruno Le Maire described the proposals as “unacceptable in their current state.” Le Maire was unequivocal in his comments, maintaining that the new rules would lead to “the death of French fishing.”

Slated to be implemented by 2013, the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will be hammered out by politicians over the forthcoming months. 

As a harbinger of the disputes to come around the negotiating table, Le Maire in the Le Marin article criticized three major pillars of the Damanaki’s proposals — discards, maximum sustainable yield and transferable fishing rights, signaling that they are “unacceptable.”

“I will not let the proposal through in its current state,” he told the newspaper, published on Friday.

A large swathe of the French fishing community — 7,208 vessels in total — are small vessels, less than 20 meters. According to the broadsheet Le Figaro, the introduction of transferable quotas concerns 25.7 percent of the French fishing fleet, or 1,857 vessels. And at the European level, the rights scheme would concern 21.5 percent of the total fishing fleet.

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