EU Fisheries: Confident that ‘healthy’ level of fishing is ahead

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Fisheries in the European Union are confident that they’re moving towards more efficient and sustainable fishing practices that should see the stocks of threatened species recover.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that after a marathon all-night negotiating session, EU fishing nations came up with dozens of new quotas next year on fish hauls in the areas around Europe where fishermen may freely ply their trade.

Fishing nations like France and Britain reportedly said they were happy their fishermen were given enough leeway for profitable fishing. Meanwhile, AP reports environmentalists complained several member states still sought too much short-term gain for their industry — but said that after decades of slumping stocks due to overfishing there were finally signs for a turnaround in EU policy.

The EU took an important step this week towards protecting its threatened fish stocks…

AP reports that the parliamentary committee backed a series of reforms aimed at boosting fish supplies to sustainable levels. The proposals aim to toughen fleet management while easing pressure on dwindling stocks.

The news agency says the committee vote was a welcome surprise because it was a sharp contrast to decades of policy inaction as fish stocks plunged in the continent’s waters. Recent statistics show that EU catches have declined by almost 40 percent in 15 years.

Maria Damanaki is the EU fisheries chief. AP reports that she insists progress is being made, especially since scientific knowledge of stocks has greatly increased. And even though her proposals for the 2013 quotas were not fully followed by member states, Damanaki told AP that rampant overfishing will be a thing of the past.

However, environmentalists say big coastal nations still pushed too hard for big quotas at the expense of stocks.

AP reports that Britain, for example, claimed victory for its fishermen, when it negotiated a proposed 55 percent cut of haddock in the Celtic Sea to 15 percent and from a 40 percent cut in megrim to 7 percent west of Scotland.

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