Last night, European Fisheries Ministers took another step towards phasing out discarding fish back to the water, the much publicised and disgraceful practice whereby up to 50% of fish in certain European fisheries are thrown back dead.
Their decision is one more step towards a better way of managing our seas and oceans as part of a wider reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. However some crucial details on the ban and its implementation still need to be addressed.
What the ministers agreed on yesterday does not go as far as the recent decision of the European Parliament. Earlier in February, the Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of an ambitious reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. But for the reform to become law, a compromise between the position of the Fisheries Ministers (which was finalised yesterday) and the position of the Parliament must be reached.
In the next few months, representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission will negotiate on the final text of the reform. It is essential that compromises are agreed in the final text of the reform that ensure fish stocks in Europe are allowed to recover and that this contributes to a sustainable future for the wider marine environment and the communities that rely on our seas.