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Common Fisheries Policy

Volume 578: debated on Monday 31 March 2014

The UK Government are today launching a package of public consultations concerning the implementation of reforms to the common fisheries policy (CFP).

As part of the reform of the CFP, a new basic regulation and common market organisation of fishery and aquaculture products (CMO) entered into force on 1 January 2014. The new European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF), which will support our fishing industry under these reforms, is due to be adopted shortly. The package of consultations being launched today covers aspects from all three of these areas.

Securing fundamental reform of the CFP was crucial, but successfully implementing these reforms is of equal importance to ensure that we can safeguard our marine environment and all those who rely on it.

One the most important achievements of the CFP reform negotiations is the phased introduction of a landing obligation, also known as a discard ban. The landing obligation will put an end to the wasteful practice of discarding, preventing fish being thrown back into the sea after being caught unless under very specific exemptions. This will start in 2015 for pelagic fisheries, and be rolled out to other fisheries from 2016.

The consultations launched today set out the Government’s proposed approach to implementing the pelagic landing obligation in England. Some of the main issues that we are gathering views on include how we will ensure our stocks are managed sustainably, how we monitor compliance and how we manage available quota to match it to the catch that would previously have been discarded.

At the same time we are seeking views on how we can best use the EMFF to support implementation of the reformed common fisheries policy. We are also consulting on a new national aquaculture strategy and how we implement changes to the fish labelling legislation in England and introduce new legislation on marketing standards in England and Wales for fishery and aquaculture products.

The CFP reform has attracted interest and passion from many different groups. A key element to making these reforms work in practice will be continuing to work closely with all those affected. This is why my Department will continue to work closely with the fishing industry and other interested groups as we develop our policy to implement these reforms.