From: Science
Published December 11, 2013 07:33 AM

EU trawling ban only partially succeeds

The European Parliament today agreed to curb fishing practices deemed destructive for deep-sea ecosystems. But it narrowly rejected calls for a complete ban, to the dismay of many scientists and environmental campaigners.


Last month, the Parliament's Fisheries Committee approved a report to restrict bottom trawling and gillnetting in the northeast Atlantic, but rejected the initial proposal to ban them altogether, an idea put forward by the European Commission in July last year.

In a plenary vote held today in Strasbourg, France, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) confirmed the restrictions. A wide majority of MEPs endorsed the whole report, while a narrow majority (342 votes to 326, with 19 abstentions) rejected an amendment calling for a general phaseout of bottom trawling after 2 years.

MEPs did, however, introduce a review clause, requiring an evaluation of the impact of deep-sea fishing gear on vulnerable species and ecosystems after 4 years. If this shows that deep-sea stocks are not well protected, a general ban could then be introduced.

Kriton Arsenis, a social democrat MEP from Greece and the Parliament's negotiator on this topic, voiced his disappointment after the vote. "The Parliament gave in to industry demands and voted against a ban on sea-bed trawling and the move to selective fishing gear," Arsenis said in a statement.

Trawler photo via Shutterstock.

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