Written by Jen Finn
The European Union parliament on Wednesday pushed for a drastic reform of fishing policy in a landmark vote seeking to end decades of overfishing that have decimated many of the stocks in Atlantic and Mediterranean EU waters.
Under the parliament's plan, there would also be a legally binding obligation to end overfishing and rebuild stocks, stop aid to member states that flout the rules and make catch reporting requirements much tougher. Parliament and EU Fisheries Commissioner Damanaki will now negotiate these issues directly with EU member states over the coming months, hoping to draw fishing nations like Spain and France into the new system.
The broad backing by the legislature was welcomed by EU fisheries chief Maria Damanaki as a vital breakthrough for "an ambitious reform." Even the oft-critical environmental groups joined in lauding the outcome.
''This is a historic vote," said Uta Bellion of The Pew Charitable Trusts, underscoring the remarkable change in vision the steady depletion of some of the world richest fishing grounds had forced onto politicians.
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