Astonished commentators used plenty of exclamation marks and grabbed for words such as “historic”, “exceptional”, “revolutionary” and “paramount” as they tried to describe what happened today: The European Parliament voted with a large majority of 502 against 137 (and 27 abstentions) to overhaul the Common Fisheries Policy.
“If you had told me this yesterday I would have thought you were crazy. I had expected a narrow majority but not this large victory,” said the rapporteur Ulrike Rodust (S&D, Germany).
End overfishing 2015
Ulrike Rodust said that the Parliament has now established red lines that the Council cannot go beyond: Overfishing must end 2015 and by 2020 fish stocks must have recovered (AM 60 – adopted with 451 votes in favour). Quotas will have to be set according to these goals, instead of through yearly haggling between ministers. This marks the transition to a new system of managing fisheries in Europe.
“We have today showed that the European Parliament is a powerful negotiating partner and the Council will have to take us seriously,” Ulrike Rodust said.
This is the first fisheries reform in which the Parliament and Council have equal co-legislative powers. Negotiations between the two institutions will begin within the next few months.
The Parliament rejected an amendment (AM 297) tabled by the EPP group intended to weaken the discard ban. The plenary further strengthened the discard ban by removing an allowance to discard five percent of the catches (split vote 4 on AM 119).
The report on the basic regulation of the CFP that was adopted today contains a wide range of measures to regulate fisheries. Among the measures adopted by the Parliament, in addition to the measures adopted in the fisheries committe:
- When the quality of data on fisheries deteriorate, then the fishing quotas should be reduced.
- Criteria for the allocation of fishing rights that provide preferential access to fishing for those who fish in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
- A requirement for the member states to collect information on private agreements between their shipowners and third country governments. Currently, no such data is available.
- Preference should be given in aquaculture to non-carnivorous species, in order to reduce reliance of aquaculture on fish meal and fish oil, which comes from fishing.
- An EU-wide committee to examine the extent to which each member state abides by the provisions of the CFP.
- A recital saying that the only way for the industry to be profitable is to have abundant fish stocks.
> Vote Watch (final vote, but you can find all roll call votes on the site too)
> European Parliament: Result of roll-call votes (who voted how) 6 February 2013 – page 14 and forward
European Parliament: Voting results (Result and number of votes on each amendment) – page 4 and forward
> Aaron McLoughlin: How each country voted
> Aaron McLoughlin: Who Voted For & Against CFP Reform (final vote)
A selection of comments (more on twitter: #CFPreform):