EU ministers split over fisheries reform

Press release - February 26, 2013
Brussels – EU fisheries ministers are heading into a long night of negotiations as they clash over measures to ban fish discards (the wasteful practice of throwing unwanted fish overboard). The differences voiced during a public debate this morning revealed a rift between EU countries on the wider issue of fisheries reform.

Artisanal Fishermen sign a joint declaration advocating environmentally friendly fishing at EU Fisheries Congress in Brussels

In a vote earlier this month, the European Parliament supported a clear shift away from overfishing and destructive and wasteful fishing practices [1].

German, Danish, Swedish, Austrian and Hungarian ministers sided with the European Parliament on measures to ban discards and reform fisheries. The Netherlands and the UK also spoke out in favour of a ban to end discards, but the British minister said he was prepared to accept at least some exemptions.

Commenting on the discussions between fisheries ministers, Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director Saskia Richartz said: "The ministers’ meeting focused on the implementation of a discards ban, but separated the wheat from the chaff on overall support for fisheries reform. Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Hungary made strong statements in support of far-reaching reform proposals tabled by the European Parliament. The fisheries ministers of France, Portugal and Spain, who still stubbornly oppose progress, are facing an increasingly stiff wind of change for an ambitious fisheries reform.”

The Irish EU presidency has promised to wrap up negotiations on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy by June.

Note to editors:
[1] Greenpeace press release, 6 Feb 2013.

Saskia Richartz – Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director: +32 (0)495 290028,
Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications: +32 (0)496 156229,


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