CFP vote marks "end of the beginning", says Stevenson

06-Feb-2013 @ 16:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Today’s vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg marked a "seminal and long-overdue landmark" on the road to reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), but there are still enormous hurdles to clear before meaningful change is embedded that will make EU fisheries sustainable in the long-term.

That was the message today (6 February) from Conservative Euro MP and Senior Vice President of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee Struan Stevenson in the wake of the vote on the First Reading of the CFP reform bill.

The vote now provides a mandate for reform from MEPs that will end discards, devolve day-to-day fisheries management to Member States, block any move towards internationally Transferrable Fishing Concessions (TFCs) and introduce the concept of Maximum Sustainable Yields (MSY) for future long-term sustainable stock management.

Speaking in Strasbourg after the vote, Mr Stevenson, Conservative MEP for Scotland, said: "These reforms will wrestle control away from the micro-managers in Brussels who have made such an absolute mess of fisheries policy for the past 30 years.

"We will also see an urgent timetable set for an absolute ban on the scandal of dumping and discards. The Spanish lobbied hard for an amendment which would have kicked the discards measures far into the long grass.

"Every vote counted, but I believe the public would never have forgiven MEPs if we had failed to take this opportunity to stop the discards debacle.

"In the end, a significant coalition of support across the political groups from left to right won the day, although, in the famous words of Winston Churchill, ‘This is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end; it is the end of the beginning’.

"Now we must look toward the vital but torturous round of negotiations between the European Council of Ministers, the European Commission and the European Parliament that will determine common ground before the bill’s Second Reading. Of course, there are still yawning gaps between the various parties on a range of issues. These disputes must be sorted out without delay. Heads need to be knocked together.

"But the vote today in Strasbourg was a seminal and long-overdue landmark on the road to reform of the CFP."

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