Vote on the total closure of 10% of fishing grounds postponed to October 2024

Brussels, 22 May 2024

Today, the decision on a critical proposal affecting the EU fishing industry has been postponed until the next Member States Coordination Group (MSCG) meeting in October 2024. The threat of completely closing 10% of all fishing zones has been adjourned. Many Member States have expressed that, due to the significant implications for the fleet and food production, a decision cannot be taken mildly and therefore there is a need for extensive consultation and discussions particularly with fisheries stakeholders.

This delay allows for a more thorough examination of the proposal’s potential impacts and scientific approach. The European Bottom Fishing Alliance (EBFA) has welcomed the postponement, viewing it as an opportunity for a more inclusive and comprehensive dialogue with both national and EU authorities.

‘We appreciate the MSCG’s decision today to delay the vote. The European Commission cannot use a backdoor, such as the implementation of ill-defined objectives of an EU Directive, to adopt measures that have such a huge impact on our fishers. Decisions as such must be checked by the elected institutions of the EU. The timing is therefore especially worrying as the European Parliament is on hold due to the European elections and while the EU is deciding on the revision of the Law from which this decision is deriving’, said an Iván López, chair of EBFA. ‘This extension provides valuable time for stakeholders to further engage in constructive discussions with our administrations to achieve a balanced approach that considers the needs of the fishing community and ensures sustainable food production’.

EBFA remains optimistic about the upcoming discussions and is committed to working towards solutions that support both environmental sustainability and the economic viability of the fishing industry.


Background information

The meeting is being held under the auspices of the Marine Strategy Coordination Group (MSCG) which coordinates the joint activities between the European Commission and the EU Member States to support the implementation of Directive 2008/56/EC1 (‘Marine Strategy Framework Directive’ or ‘MSFD’).

Member States were requested to vote and adopt a threshold value for areas without (human) pressure which would translate into the closure of 10% of all fishing areas.

For more information:

Press contact
Daniel Voces, Secretary of EBFA, +32 489 26 81 07

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