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EU Sanctions Against Overfishing of Mackerel

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EU Sanctions Against Overfishing of Mackerel

EU Sanctions Against Overfishing of Mackerel
September 13
10:41 2012

New rules empowering the European Commission to ban EU imports of fish from overfished stocks have been approved by the European Parliament. Bans should discourage massive overfishing of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroe Islands. In other votes, MEPs said that the coming reform of EU fisheries policy should aim to make it sustainable.

The regulation opens the way to trade sanctions against third countries that allow unsustainable fishing of fish and fishery products from stocks of common interest (ie fish stocks available to the fleets of both EU and third countries whose management requires cooperation between them).

Rapporteur Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE, IE) says: “While the regulation may be used against any third countries, the situation in the North East Atlantic is of immediate concern to all of us. Iceland has unilaterally increased its mackerel catch from 363 tonnes in 2005 to 147,000 tonnes in 2012. The Faroes’ quota for mackerel has soared from 27,830 tonnes in 2009 to 149,000 tonnes in 2012.”

Should these sanctions prove ineffective, the Commission may adopt additional measures, such as restricting the use of EU ports by vessels flying the flag of a non-compliant country or by vessels carrying fish from the overfished stock to the EU.

A country allowing “unsustainable fishing” in this context is one that fails to cooperate in the management of a stock of common interest in compliance with international agreements, and fishes at or above the levels that can produce maximum sustainable yields (or does not adopt necessary fishing management measures).

MEPs also paved the way for stronger and properly-funded producer organisations to counterbalance the power of retailers, by adopting new rules for the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products, with a view to the forthcoming common fisheries policy reform. These rules will also require producers to label fresh fish products with the date of landing and other information useful to consumers.

Furthermore, reducing unwanted catches, for example by promoting the use of more selective gear, should be a priority, says the regulation.

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