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European Parliament votes on deep sea fishing




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Over-fishing-along-West-A-009The Commission takes note of the 10 December vote by the European Parliament on its proposal regulating fishing for deep-sea species in the North-East Atlantic.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki said: "Now that the European Parliament has expressed its views on the proposal, I expect the Council to finally start its work on this regulation. The Commission is ready to facilitate constructive three-party discussions on this proposal. We must work together to protect the vulnerable deep-sea species and their habitats"


Deep-sea species are caught in deep waters in the Atlantic beyond the main fishing grounds on the continental shelves, in depths up to 4,000 metres. Their habitats and ecosystems are largely unknown but it is a fragile environment that, once damaged, is unlikely to recover. Highly vulnerable to fishing, deep-sea fish stocks are quick to collapse and slow to recover because they reproduce at low rates.

In the past, this fishery went on largely unregulated, and this clearly impacted negatively on the stocks concerned. In 2003, the EU started imposing limits on the amount of fish that can be taken, on the numbers of vessels authorised, and on the days they can spend at sea (i.e. fishing effort) to fish for those species.

In July 2012, the European Commission proposed new measures to regulate fishing for deep-sea species in the North-East Atlantic. The Commission proposed a reinforced licensing system and a gradual phase-out of those fishing gears that specifically target deep sea species in a less sustainable manner, namely bottom trawls and bottom-set gillnets

Deep-sea fisheries in the North-East Atlantic are pursued in EU waters, including the outermost regions of Portugal and Spain, and in international waters governed by conservation measures adopted within the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), in which the EU participates along with the other countries fishing in the area.


Deep sea fisheries account for around 1% of fish landed from the North-East Atlantic, but some local fishing communities depend to a certain extent on deep-sea fisheries. The catches – and related jobs - have been declining for years, due to depleted stocks.

Commissioner Damanaki welcomes final adoption of reformed Common Fisheries Policy

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