• New draft rules on fishing opportunities and preservation of fish stocks to be implemented by 2020
  • Facilitate the introduction of landing obligation
  • Fishing quotas to be based on best available scientific advice

A multiannual plan to manage fishing opportunities in the Western Waters for demersal species, e.g. Norway lobster, angelfish and common sole, was approved by the Parliament.

The multiannual plan, approved by 437 votes to 103 and 11 abstentions on Thursday, would manage the fisheries of demersal species, living near the bottom of the sea, including several deep-sea stocks, in the Northeast Atlantic, known as Western Waters. To enter into force, the proposal still needs to be agreed with EU Ministers.

MEPs agreed on the 2020 deadline for reaching the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the area. This objective should be achieved as soon as possible and on an incremental basis by 2020, and maintained thereafter.

Exceptionally, for fish stocks and species subject to annual or seasonal bans, the EU Council may establish temporary fishing opportunities, for some of the fisheries and in cases of particular socio-economic impact. These exceptional opportunities should anyhow be limited and not significantly outweigh the impact on the conservation of the stock, MEPs also agreed.

The approved rules would also:

  • base all measures on the best available scientific advice, in particular from the International Council on the Exploration of the Sea (ICES);
  • contribute to the elimination of discards by reducing as far as possible unwanted catches, as well as to the implementation of the landing obligation;
  • cut red tape by eliminating numerous reporting and control obligations for vessels;
  • introduce monitoring and reporting obligations every 5 years by the Commission;
  • cover recreational fisheries for demersal species;
  • establish principles for relations with non-EU countries, in a post-Brexit perspective.

Support regional cooperation

Member States directly affected by an issue would be able to submit joint recommendations to the Commission, which would then be responsible to tackle the problem, based on these recommendations.

The report was drafted by committee chair Alain CADEC (EPP, FR).

Next steps

This text represent MEPs’ mandate to start negotiations with EU Ministers to find an agreement on the final shape of the legislation.


A multiannual management plan is the instrument used for managing the fish stocks in a certain area. The fishing mortality rates are an essential part of it. They provide a basis for the setting of Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas. The norm set out in Article 2, paragraph 2 of the Basic Regulation for the Common Fisheries Policy is that the exploitation restores and maintains "harvested species above levels which can produce the maximum sustainable yield (MSY)".

In the Northeast Atlantic area, known as Western Waters, demersal fishing represents about half of the total EU demersal fisheries regulated by TACs. This multiannual plan involves fishing vessels from Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and UK. Stocks include hake, Norway lobster, angelfish and common sole. In 2017, TACs in this area amounted to 368.00 tonnes, with a first sale value of around 1.4 billion euros.

These species bring a significant income to the fisheries sector. In 2018, the fishing opportunities for western waters are set at more than 400 000 tonnes under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy

Two multiannual plans under the new CFP have already been approved by the European Parliament and the Council: the Baltic Sea plan adopted in 2016 and the North Sea planadopted in 2018.

  • Source : europarl.europa.eu
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