The European Parliament today adopted new rules to simplify and regionally adapt the current measures fishermen use to catch fish, while ensuring the conservation of fishery resources.

Over the past few years, the legislation which aims at limiting unwanted catches and reducing the impacts of fishing activities on natural resources and ecosystems, has developed into a very complex set of more than 30 prescriptive Regulations which were not flexible enough to adapt to technical evolution and do not meet the particular needs of each fishery. Technical measures regulate, among others, mesh sizes, selectivity of fishing gears, and closed or restricted areas.

Gabriel Mato MEP, the Parliament Rapporteur on the issue, said: “The new rules are more flexible, simple and practicable as long as there are baselines applied to all fisheries that would guarantee a level playing field to operators, while tailored made measures are adapted to the specific needs of each fishery. It will be more clear what they can fish, where and how to do it”.

“The regionalisation of the technical measures should lead to better legislation and would allow the sector to get actively involved in the decision-making process”, he added.

The new legislation is based on principles introduced in the last reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy such as regionalisation and results-based management which gives flexibility to the sector while keeping the main objective, the sustainability of fishery resources. It will include a progressive reduction of catches of small fish as a main objective of the future Regulation. EU Member States will set regional targets for key fisheries.

“In summary, we have taken an important step forward in simplifying technical measures while respecting the protection of marine ecosystems and the conservation of fishery resources”, Mato concluded.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 217 Members from 27 Member States

For the first time since 2009, the European Parliament has co-decision powers to decide on this topic together with the Council of the EU. The Parliament and the Council will soon open negotiations to reach a final agreement.

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