On Thursday September 14th , the European Parliament voted in favour for a package of protective measures aimed at reducing overfishing in the North Sea. The Party for the Animals received support for her proposal to never fish above the level of the Maximum Sustainable Yield. This maximum limit will be enforced next year if the 28 EU countries vote in favour.
“The Maximum Sustainable Yield should be maintained as an absolute maximum level when enforcing the national fishing quota; the word ‘maximum’ specifically leaves no room for differences in interpretation, ” says Euro parliamentarian Anja Hazekamp.
Hazekamp points out that even if fishing will commence at the level of the MSY, the strain on fish populations will still remain significant. “Fishing plans should not only be focussed on how mankind can benefit most from the sea. Recovery and conservation of maritime ecosystems should be the primary goal of these kind of plans.”
The Euro parliamentarian therefore also criticises parties in the European Parliament that are trying to stretch the ceiling of the Maximum Sustainable Yield.
“International conventions state that overfishing of our waters should have been discontinued by 2015. This has already been postponed to 2020. Now that fishing effectively has to be reduced, you can see that the parties are getting cold feet. However, if overfishing keeps commencing, no one will be favoured in the long term, ” Hazekamp warns.
Besides this, a vote was raised on the initiative of the Party of the Animals about a ban on standing nets in front of the North Sea shore. Mammals such as porpoises, seals and sea birds often accidently get caught up in the nets, resulting in death by suffocation. The proposal to ban standing nets was rejected in the Plenary vote. However, proposals to take measures aimed at reducing recreational fishing were positively received in the European Parliament.