Deadlock on long-term fisheries plans: MEPs send strong message to Council

The European Parliament takes the conflict with the Council over multi-annual fisheries management plans one step further and postpone an important vote in order to impress upon the Council the need to unblock legislation suspended in some cases already for three years.

“The position of the Council is a real shame, blocking any advance on the negotiation of multi-annual plans and looking for alternatives to avoid discussing in co-decision with the Parliament. This is something we are not going to tolerate”, said Gabriel Mato Adrover (EPP, ES), chair of the Fisheries Committee.

The vote in plenary which has been postponed on request of the rapporteur Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE, IE) on behalf of the Fisheries Committee concerns a legislative resolution to prolong the validity of the range of rules governing how and where fishermen may fish, which expire end of this year (“Proposal on conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms amending Regulation (EC) No 850/98″, which was scheduled for plenary vote 22 november 2012).

“This is maybe the first of many reports on which the Parliament may have to take a firm stance against the Council until they are willing to enter into meaningful talks to resolve this dispute which is ongoing for three years”, said Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE, IE).

The deadlock is the result of a conflict touching on the Parliament’s powers as co-legislator for multi-annual fisheries management plans. The Council wants to exclude the Parliament altogether from the decision-making process for certain key elements of these plans.

MEPs in the Fisheries Committee find this unacceptable since, in their view, the directly-elected European Parliament and the Council together share a joint responsibility as co-legislators for the multiannual plans. These plans are part of a broader policy aimed at protecting fisheries resources and ensuring the livelihood of communities dependent on fisheries.

These management plans include those to manage horse mackerel in the western Atlantic and the anchovy in the Bay of Biscay. The plan to protect Baltic salmon stock could suffer the same fate if the Council does not change its position, and others may follow.

Note: This article is based on a ‘press information’ text distributed by the Fisheries Committee press service.

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