Ireland North West MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher and a negotiator for the European Parliament on the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy has confirmed that the European Parliament has reached a political agreement with the Irish Presidency on the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
The agreement was brokered at 3.30am (CET) this morning in the European Parliament in Brussels.
Mr. Gallagher stated this morning: “I can confirm that the negotiations have ended with a political agreement between the European Parliament and the Presidency on the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
“I am disappointed by the failure of the Presidency to accept the proposal of the European Parliament to enshrine the Hague Preferences into the Reform. Despite the fact of having the full support of my colleagues for the Hague Preferences, I did not want to be responsible for the breakdown of the negotiations, which could have delayed the Reform beyond the Irish Presidency. As such, I proposed a strengthened recital in a last ditch effort. I am pleased that my suggestion was accepted, subject to a final agreement in Coreper in respect of the Hague Preferences. This will ensure that for the next ten years EU Fish Ministers must take full account of the Hague Preferences when allocating annual quotas.”
Pat the Cope further stated: “I can fully accept the remainder of the Reform as it has incorporated many of the amendments tabled by me during our deliberations in the European Parliament. These significant changes include a strong request urging Member States to endeavour to provide additional quotas to vessels that fish in an environmentally sustainable manner, such as small scale vessels, recognition that existing biological sensitive areas should be continued, which includes the Irish Box and the establishment of greater regionalisation and bottom up decision making especially for technical and conservation measures.”
Pat the Cope concluded by stating “the attention will quickly turn to the implementation of the reform especially concerning the discard ban. This new policy will last for the next ten years and it must be implemented in a way that protects and develops the seafood industry in Ireland which employs over 12,000 people, in many coastal and small island communities throughout Ireland. The introduction of the discard ban will only work in practice if the principles of avoidance and minimisation through more selective gear and incentives to encourage stakeholder compliance are adhered to.”