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EU Member States Comply With Obligations to Downsize Fishing Fleets – But More Can be Done

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EU Member States Comply With Obligations to Downsize Fishing Fleets – But More Can be Done

EU Member States Comply With Obligations to Downsize Fishing Fleets – But More Can be Done
April 30
16:32 2014

The European Commission’s annual report on the European fishing fleet shows some progress towards achieving a balance between capacity and available fishing opportunities. However more remains to be done to ensure that stocks are managed in accordance with the objective of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and the Commission considers that there is still a need for active fleet capacity adjustment measures by Member States in order to achieve this.

The main messages of the report are:

* Current entries in the EU Fleet Register indicate that all Member States have complied with the levels of fishing capacity in tonnage and power. Overall the fishing capacity of the EU fleet was 16.4% below the capacity ceilings for tonnage and 10.4 % below the power ceilings.

* On 31 December 2012 the EU fleet consisted of 76 023 vessels. The number of vessels has been reduced by 1.6 % while the tonnage and engine power decreased by 2% and 1% respectively in comparison with 2011.

* In 2012 decommissioning with public aid was the most used management tool to reduce fishing capacity. From 1st January 2007 until 31 of July of 2012, €464 million of European Fisheries Fund payments were allocated, equating to almost 3700 vessels ceasing fishing.

Excessive fishing power is a major driver for overfishing. The recent reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) obliges Member States to adjust the fishing capacity of their fleets to their fishing opportunities over time.

From now on, Member States will have to include in their reports an action plan for the fleet segments with identified structural imbalance. The action plans will result in more transparency and monitoring on the Member States’ targets, actions, and timelines to remedy these imbalances. Under the new CFP a proven lack of commitment from Member States to achieving a balance between fleet capacity and fishing opportunities may lead to the suspension or interruption of funding under the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

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