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First steps towards reform of EU's Common Fisheries Policy

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The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy begins today, stated the Spanish Minister for the Environment, as the Informal Meeting of Fisheries Ministers in Vigo, Spain, got under way on Tuesday.

'The meeting we initiate today must establish the foundations for the future Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). I think that this is a unique opportunity for Spain, which we will additionally be able to take advantage of throughout the course of the year, since we are sharing the Presidency trio with Belgium and Hungary, to complete a reform process which will enable us to continue maintaining a strong fisheries sector, which must continue to use resources strategically, but must, most importantly, be able to provide a good livelihood while conserving resources with an eye to the future," Elena Espinosa, Spanish Minister for the Environment, Rural and Maritime Affairs, stated. She said that the 27 expect to conclude the negotiations within 15 months.

“We have many months of work ahead, as well as many months of high expectations, but above all we have the satisfaction of knowing that Spain, during its term in the Presidency, will establish a framework which will maintain everything on an even kilter" and can successfully conclude the reform process, prior to the new CFP coming into effect on 1 January, 2013.

Over the course of the next two days, representatives of the 27 Member States, jointly with the European Commission, will debate three major issues related to the modification of the CFP:

  • The Position Paper which contains the results of the public consultation on the CFP opened by the Commission.
  • The conclusions reached at the sectorial conference held last Sunday and Monday in A Coruña.
  • The external aspect of the CFP, which is particularly important for countries such as Spain, whose fishing vessels also operate outside EU waters.

The Spanish Presidency has decided to carefully revise elements such as governance, fisheries resources management and the management of coastal and small-scale fishing. Along these lines, it proposes that the fisheries sector continue to be taken into account in decision making, that greater importance be attached to the ecosystemic approach with regard to fisheries and that quota and TAC management be revised so as to take into account the state of fishing grounds.

The Spanish Presidency also defends the social importance of small-scale fishing, and the sense of identity it provides to a large number of the EU's coastal regions, thus making its preservation all the more important.

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy website

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