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Blue Europe: responsible controls for sustainable fishing

ocean

European Democrats welcome the strengthening and modernisation of the rules and means of control of fishing vessels, active in European and international waters, with a view to improving the traceability of fishery products for consumers and better preserving marine biodiversity. The vote taken on the 10th of March in the virtual plenary session of the European Parliament indeed constitutes a step forward in using new technologies to improve the implementation of the 2013 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, such as the electronic logbook and the vessels monitoring satellite system (VMS).

Basque MEP Izaskun BILBAO BARANDICA (PNV), spokesperson for this dossier for Renew Europe within the Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries (PECH), said: "The revision of the current regulation promotes economically, socially and environmentally sustainable fishing. It will support the rights of consumers and will allow them to reward European fisheries products that meet these conditions with their purchasing decisions. The sector is making an enormous effort to submit itself to continuous and strict digital control. The EU is thus consolidating its position as a world leader in the fight against illegal fishing. This effort deserves consideration and social recognition. The European institutions must talk more with fishermen, forget prejudices and deepen the values that drive the sector".

However, French MEP Catherine Chabaud (MoDem) highlights: "European record of infringements, more control of accidental captures, cameras on board... But there is some disappointment in relation to the increase in the margins of tolerance, which is a step backwards"

Each professional fishing vessel will now have to keep a digital logbook listing the daily catches of the different species of fish subject to quota. These data and other control measures will be important in our fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU-fishing). Ship-owners will be encouraged and for a certain number of the vessels it will be an obligation to carry additional electronic surveillance technologies, such as closed circuit television (CCTV). Infringements will henceforth be identified in a holistic manner and recorded in a European register. The text nevertheless takes care to leave the necessary flexibility to fishers in the exercise of their profession.

With that freedom, however, comes responsibility. This is why Renew Europe has been particularly involved in ensuring that reports of loss of fishing gear are systematic. Any disappearance of gears at sea such as lines and nets must be notified in the logbook and submitted electronically to the competent authorities. The loss of fishing gear is a source of marine pollution and their recovery will be facilitated by this report.

With this vote parliament is now ready to start negotiations with the council in order to finally conclude on this important revision of the fisheries control system for the future.