The EP proposes the establishment of an EU network of fisheries reserves

The establishment of a coherent network of fisheries reserves is one of the key amendments on the Common Fisheries Policy that the Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted for today. Tabled by Greek Socialist MEP Kriton Arsenis, the amendment introduces a legal obligation to establish a coherent network of fisheries amounting to at least 20% of coastal territorial waters in each Member State. The reserves will include essential fish habitats, in particular nursery grounds, spawning grounds and feeding grounds for fish stocks. This comes one month after the European Parliament voted to include the proposal of MEP Kriton Arsenis for the establishment of fisheries reserves within the framework of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 in April's Plenary Session.

Following the vote Kriton Arsenis made the following statement:

"A radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is urgently needed given that today, three out of four stocks are overfished: 82% of Mediterranean stocks and 63% of Atlantic stocks. The establishment of fisheries reserves, areas in which all fishing activities are banned, will play a key role as a particularly effective and cost-efficient measure to reverse the collapse of the EU fishing sector and to achieve the long term conservation of fish stocks. Fisheries reserves also provide opportunities for local fishermen who will be able to fish more with less effort in the areas around the reserves due to the spill over effect. Moreover, given that these restrictions and management measures are applied in clearly defined geographic areas monitoring and control is much easier and far more effective."