On Tuesday, the EU Council on Fisheries meets in Luxembourg to discuss its general approach for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (agenda, Council background note, Presidency progress report).
CFP Reform Watch has already covered the major issues earlier this week, highlighting division in the Council. Now, a document just published by the Council summarises all the open issues – and this doesn’t look like the general approach will be meaningful in any way.
In short, disagreement is still there for almost all major issues of the reform:
- How to define Commission powers in the fisheries policy?
- What measures are needed to reach Maximum Sustainable Yield, i.e. fishing so that ensures the long-term survival of fish, until 2015 or 2020?
- Where and how to implement a discard ban, that is a ban on throwing already caught fish over board?
- How to handle undersized fish?
- Whether to supervise fisherman with camera equipment?
- How exactly to manage the fisheries resources in multiannual plans?
- How to make decision-making more regional?
- Whether at at all to introduce transferable fishing concessions (TFCs), i.e. long term access rights that can be traded within or between countries?
- Should there be even more advisory councils (currently there are seven), that is stakeholder bodies used to consult industry and the wider civil society in EU fisheries policy?
Basically, this list of open issues looks like the full Common Fisheries Policy. The original Commission proposal is 11 months old, and I wonder whether the Council on Tuesday will actually get to a general approach.
And if they do, will it be worth anything given that the European Parliament only plans to vote in first reading in November? That is still a long time and lots of room for ministers to change minds…
Update: A group of environmental NGOs has called for a boycott of the expected compromise for the general approach.