EU ministers conclude marathon negotiating session on fisheries reform

A further press comment will follow later today as details of the deal and country positions become clearer

Press release - May 14, 2013
For the final comment on the outcome of the meeting of fisheries ministers, go to:

Brussels – EU fisheries ministers have concluded a marathon session of negotiations on the reform of EU legislation on fisheries. The ministers have been meeting since Monday to revise their position on the main points of the reform before going into final negotiations with the European Parliament.

More than 40 Galician fishing vessels joined Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise on Monday in a protest aimed at Spanish minister Miguel Arias Canete. The banner reads 'Canete, don't sink EU fisheries'

Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director Saskia Richartz said: “Details of the agreement reached early this morning are still patchy and, as so often in politics, the devil is in the detail. What is clear, despite the efforts of the Irish EU presidency, is that there is still a significant gap between the reluctant stance of some countries and the progressive position of the European Parliament. When ministers speak of ‘real and practical solutions’ they often mean that they have settled for a low level of ambition. The parliament will need to decide whether to continue negotiations on the basis of this take-it-or-leave-it proposal from the Council. It must continue to represent the political and public support behind the recovery of our oceans for Europe to be able to safeguard its marine environment and keep its sustainable fishing sector alive.” 

In a vote in February, the Parliament overwhelmingly supported an overhaul of the rules which have led to decades of overfishing and a decline of the European fishing industry [1]. On the other hand, EU ministers – in particular from large fishing nations – have resisted reforms [2].

Unless ministers are willing to compromise, negotiations will be thrown off course and threaten the chances of achieving a reform of fisheries rules before European Parliament elections in mid-2014. The Irish EU presidency, which negotiates with Parliament on behalf of EU ministers, has said it would aim secure a final agreement on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy by June this year.

Greenpeace supports a target for fish stock recovery by 2020, a trimming of the fishing fleet to sustainable levels, financial penalties for countries that fail to implement the rules, and a strict ban on the wasteful practice of discarding unwanted fish.

Note to editors:

[1] According to the European Commission, around two thirds of European fish stocks are currently fished beyond sustainable levels (, while one third of European fishing jobs have been lost in the last decade (

[2] Joint NGO statement, Fisheries Council: threat of collapse hangs over fisheries reform:



Saskia Richartz – Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director: +32 (0)495 290028,

Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications: +32 (0)496 156229,

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