US backs EU plan to barter fishing rights
(BRUSSELS) - A controversial Brussels scheme to help replenish shrinking fish stocks by trading fishing rights won Washington's support Friday as the EU gears up for key talks on managing its oceans.
Europe's fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki is to try to convince EU ministers on June 12 to sign up to an agreement in principle to issue quotas to fish certain stock that could be traded privately at a national level.
"Reforms that Damanaki has proposed for the Common Fisheries Policy mirror some of the changes we made," said Jane Lubchenco, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
"We have seen the benefits," she added. "We have been able to turn the corner in ending overfishing and are now on a path of sustainability and profitability."
She said 27 over-fished stocks in 2000 had now been replenished in the US.
Damanaki's aim is to have stocks delivering a "maximum sustainable yield" by "no later than 2015."
To reduce the size of the world's third biggest fishing power -- after China and Peru -- she hopes to introduce individual quotas, or "concessions", that a fisherman can sell off to the highest bidder should he wish to throw in the towel.
Similar systems of concessions have enabled Denmark to reduce its fleet by 30 percent in four years and have kept the fishing sector healthy in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Norway, she has said.
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