Stronger controls urged for EU fisheries

Think tank calls for sustainable development to become "primary objective" of policy

The European Commission must place sustainable development at the heart of its new common fisheries policy (CFP), the London-based Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) has argued, in a new report.

According to the think tank, a new CFP due for introduction in 2002 must make greater use of ecosystem-based plans, a broader range of technical conservation measures, new forms of support for sustainable fisheries and new research priorities for biodiversity. It also calls for use of the polluter pays, precautionary, and prevention principles.

The paper follows a meeting of European environmental NGOs held in April to discuss the Commission's action plan for biodiversity in fisheries, promised under the EU biodiversity strategy launched in 1998 (ENDS Daily 4 February 1998). A draft was released in March, described by IEEP as "very disappointing," and the Commission intends to bring out a final communication by August.

IEEP proposes a series of principles on which it says the fisheries biodiversity plan should be based. It wants to see development of a wider range of policy instruments, integrated strategies covering the entire marine area, and a "decentralised" approach to implementation. Stakeholders, including relevant environmental agencies and NGOs, need to be further involved with resource management and decision-making, and there must be vigilance against environmental damage to third countries as a result of fisheries policies.

Follow Up:
IEEP, tel: +44 20 77 99 22 44.

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