Last night EU fisheries Ministers reached an agreement on general principles for a ban on discard, maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and regionalisation of the fisheries management process.
Representing the interests of Welsh fishermen, the Deputy Minister played an integral part on the EU Fisheries Council.
He welcomed the landmark step towards the creation of sustainable fisheries throughout Europe.
The three main principles that have been agreed include:
- The implementation of maximum sustainable yield (MSY). For some species in 2015 and for all species no later than in 2020. MSY is defined as the most fish that can be taken without affecting the stock's ability to reproduce and therefore makes stock sustainable.
- A ban on discards. The Council agrees on implementing a progressive ban on discarding of fish beginning in 2014 for pelagic stocks and a phased implementation for mixed finfish stocks over a three year period - initial indications that this period will commence in 2015.
- Regionalisation. Less micromanagement from Brussels which means more flexible fisheries management.
The Deputy Minister said:
"This is significant progress towards my aspirations of a regionalised approach to managing our fisheries. This means the CFP can cater more efficiently for our unique position in Wales, while we can also reap the benefits that come from working closely with other Member States.
"I have represented Wales at every opportunity in Europe, and will continue to do so throughout this process. These are exciting and changing times in both fisheries and agriculture and I will continue to lead the way in getting the best possible deal for Welsh fishermen."