Fisheries reform gets European Parliament backing

Updated: Wednesday, 06 Feb 2013 19:07

The European Parliament has backed a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, which seeks to end over-fishing.

It would also ban discards, the practice of throwing unwanted, dead fish back into the sea.

The move was passed by 502 votes to 137.

Almost 70% of EU fish stocks are over-fished according to the European Commission.

Nearly a quarter of all EU catches are discarded because they are the wrong species or wrong size.

MEPs want to oblige vessels to land all fish caught.

The measures would prevent member states from setting fishing quotas that are too high after 2015 to allow stocks to recover by 2020.

The vote recognises the so-called Hague Preferences. This is a system where Ireland got a top-up on its quota, given in return for sharing Irish fishing grounds with other EU member states.

It had been handled on an ad-hoc basis for the past 37 years.

The final shape of the measures will now have to be agreed between the parliament and European fisheries ministers.