EP fisheries committee: Mauritania, eels & Irish presidency

At this week’s meeting with the European Parliament’s fisheries committee, the Irish fisheries minister, Simon Coveney, presented the Irish presidency’s work programme on fisheries policy.

Simon Coveney told MEPs Tuesday that the goal of the Irish presidency is to conclude the negotiations on all three parts of the fisheries reform before the end of June. He presended this preliminary timeline:

  • Common Market Organisation (CMO). The Council negotiation mandate will become ready in January in order to commence trialogues in February if possible. The presidency hopes to complete the CMO during the first part of the year.
  • Basic regulation: At the February Agriculture-Fisheries Council, ministers will complete the outstanding issues in the Council position in order to agree on a negotiation mandate. The presidency hopes to start the trialogues in March, aiming for a second reading agreement by the end of June.
  • European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Council will discuss the outstanding issues in April in order to start negotiations in April/May, if the Parliament has adopted its position by then.

“Our programme will be difficult but not impossible to achieve,” Simon Coveney said.

It will be especially difficult with the EMFF. Jérémie Réquis, administrator at the fisheries committee, tweeted Monday that the votes on the EMFF are scheduled to take place in committee 23 April in plenary in June.

MEPs criticised the Council for continuing to block a number of multiannual fisheries management plans. Simon Coveney said that this institutional conflict would be discussed by ministers at the next Council meeting, 28–29 January.

> Download Simon Coveney’s speech

On Monday the fisheries committee discussed the EU-Mauritania fisheries agreement with a group of experts. Download the presentations of the experts:
Benoît Caillart, Director of Studies of Oceanic Development, involved in writing the Mauritania FPA ex ante ex post evaluations. > Presentation
Gerard Van Balsfoort, President of PFTA (Pelagic Freezer Trawler Association). > Presentation
Sid’ahmed Abeid, President of the artisanal section of the National Fisheries Federation (FNP) of Mauritania. > Speech, English> Speech, French
Javier Garat, President of Europêche. > Document 1> Document 2

On Tuesday morning MEPs discussed the management of the European eel, a species which is critically endangered. The amount of eels coming to the North Sea from their spawning area in the Sargasso sea is today less than 1% compared to 1960–1979.

The eel regulation is up for review in order to align it with new legal procedures of the Lisbon treaty, but MEPs discussed if more drastic action should also be taken to protect the eel. The draft report will be finalised by rapporteur Isabella Lövin (Greens/EFA) 29 January.

Meeting documents
Download meeting documents in different languages.

Video recording of the meeting
The meeting can be watched here:
PECH Committee 21/1/2013 15:00 (Mauritania)
PECH Committee 22/1/2013 09:30 (Eels)
PECH Committee 22/1/2013 15:00 (Irish presidency)

Axel Naver

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