The fisheries committee in the European Parliament on 11 July adopted Nikolaos Salavrakos’ report on the overarching communication.
The ‘overarching communication’ is a non-legislative act. Unlike the three legislative acts in the fisheries reform (the basic regulation, market organisation, maritime and fisheries fund), the overarching communication has the status of a non-legislative resolution. Nevertheless, the outcome of the vote is regarded as important because it can set a precedent for the legislative votes due later this year.
The committee adopted a text stating that fish stocks should be kept above levels capable of producing the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), and that a clear timetable including a final date has to be established in the basic regulation. (Compromise amendment 8) The writing above MSY is in line with the Commission’s proposal, but is different from the Council’s view that stocks should be kept at least at MSY levels.
Further, the committee adopted amendments saying that long-term environmental sustainability is a prerequisite for the economic and social viability of the fishing sector (am 41) and noting the considerable social and economic benefits from allowing fish stocks to increase above MSY levels (am 222).
Put an end to impasse on management plans
MEPs called for an end to the “institutional impasse” of multiannual management plans, by adopting compromise amendment 7.
Later during the meeting, discussing the cod management plan, several MEPs expressed their dissatisfaction with Council stalling several other management plans that are to be decided in co-decision with the Parliament. The chair, Gabriel Mato, said: “We cannot accept that the Council blames Parliament for stopping the management plans. We have given our view in first reading. The Council has to act on this; the Council has to say yes or no. You cannot say that the Parliament has not done its duty.”
Funds to research and fleet renewal
The committee adopted compromise amendment 9 which asks for “adequate sums to be allocated to scientific research and data collection”. Furthermore, the Committee adopted amendment 281 which asks for “grants for the renewal and modernisation of fishing fleets.”
The committee also adopted amendments calling for sanctions against member states that do not collect fisheries data (am 154), calling for programmes to educate school children and consumers as to the variety of fish species available (am 147), and highlighting the role of women in the fisheries sector (am 231).
The report, as amended, was adopted with 21 votes against 2 (and 2 abstentions). The concolidated report will soon be compiled by the Fisheries Committee.
The plenary vote is scheduled for the September session.