EU fishing policy gets the Cardiff treatment

Communication on routes to sustainable fisheries recommends action through reformed CFP

The European Commission today recommended that EU fisheries ministers should launch a radical greening of the EU's common fisheries policy (CFP) if they are serious about integrating environmental considerations into policy making. The communication is the latest in a series prepared under the "Cardiff" process, in preparation for nine EU ministerial groupings to present environmental integration strategies to EU leaders in June.

Taking a hard line on the largely discredited CFP, the communication calls for EU fisheries policies to undergo a complete "change in attitude" to embrace sustainable development, for example by introducing ecosystem-based management and using the precautionary principle

The bulk of the recommended changes should be set in motion during a planned reform of the bloc's common fisheries policy (CFP), to be completed by the end of 2002, says the document. Environmental failures of the current CFP must be addressed, including over-exploitation of commercial stocks, threats to non-target organisms and the physical environment as a result of over fishing, and harmful impacts associated with the growth of aquaculture.

Indicators and targets should be used to ensure progress, and a full-scale review of the effectiveness of the changes should take place in 2005.

The communication is hopeful that a reformed CFP focused on adapting fisheries to sustainable development is achievable, in part because the fishing industry is "increasingly realising that the current state of affairs is not only unsustainable in the long term but is generating a loss of profitability and a loss of public support".

It also follows quickly on the heels of emergency measures introduced by the Commission and Norway in a bid to stop the collapse of cod stocks (ENDS Daily 25 January).

Follow Up:
European Commission fisheries directorate, tel: +32 2 299 1111, and press release.

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