Europe to devolve conservation measures

THE European Commission has presented its proposal for new technical conservation measures for fisheries in European waters which are expected to devolve certain powers back to the regions.
The regulation will prescribe the general principles and the overall objectives of conservation and will set the basic rules that will be applicable to prohibited fishing gear or the protection of certain species and habitats.
However, for technical measures which affect a specific sea basin, national governments and operators will be able to customise the proposed rules to the local context so as to achieve the desired results.
Member states will be able to submit joint recommendations to the Commission for regulations defining appropriate technical measures at the regional level that deviate from the existing measures.
These include rules on how, where and when fishermen may fish, also determining gear, catch composition and ways to deal with accidental catches.
The Commission said: ‘The approach will devolve powers back to Regional Advisory Councils and avoid them being decided at EU level through a lengthy adoption process, with complex regulatory structure.
‘Annexes will list prohibited species, closed areas, prohibited species for catching with driftnets, methods of measurement of the size of a marine organism, minimum conservation reference sizes etc. The approach is in line with the Better Regulation Agenda for the European Commission.’
Meanwhile, the current Netherlands presidency and European Parliament representatives have agreed on the mechanism, proposed by the Commission in 2014, for establishing a multi-annual and multi-species fisheries management plan for cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea. This new plan replaces an older scheme.