Today the European Parliament's committee on fisheries voted in favour of the North Sea Multi-annual Plan. The plan aims at ensuring the sustainability of the stocks and the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, and is of critical importance in view of Brexit. Multi-annual plans are a key part of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The report will be voted in the plenary in the autumn.

S&D MEP and author of the report, Ulrike Rodust, said:

"The North Sea Multi-annual Plan is of great importance for the implementation of the CFP, especially in the context of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. The plan is to be seen as a cornerstone for the long-term sustainability of fish stocks in this sea basin.

"Through this report, we want to achieve a number of objectives. First, we want to reach a level of fishing which allows the 'maximum sustainable yield' to be achieved as quickly as possible – by 2020 at the latest – while ensuring sustainable yields for the industry. Secondly, we want to make sure that the relevant stocks are maintained within safe biological limits and that unwanted catches are minimised. Thirdly, we wish to establish a suitable framework for the implementation of regionalisation in the long-term management of stocks.

"We ensured that decisions are based on the best available scientific advice and that the plan is periodically reviewed. However, fishing mortality ranges and the fish groups to be covered by the plan proved to be thorny issues with EPP and ECR threatening to reject the entire report. I am confident that sticking to fixed figures is not the way to go in the context of the ranges. Instead, much greater flexibility in incorporating scientific advice on fishing mortality is needed.

"The report mostly took up the comprehensive list of groups the Commission had proposed and that we had fought for."

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