A proposal and recommendations developed by the Finnish Ministry on behalf of Baltfish for the salmon management plan, which has been stalled since 2012, was presented at the latest BSAC ecosystem based management working group.
The normal legislative procedure in the EU is for the Commission to make a proposal as a first step. Then the Parliament completes its first reading and provides amendments, this is then either accepted by Council or their own amendments and compromises are developed before a trilogue negotiation between the three institutions.
It is not clear how the non-paper drafted for Baltfish fits into this framework. The document put forward makes no reference to the Commission proposal, written in 2011 or the European Parliament position adopted in 2012. Instead, significant numbers of articles and references have been deleted from what has been on the table.
Updating the salmon management plan proposal in order to integrate commitments made during the CFP reform is an important step, although significant alterations should be subject to an impact assessment that has yet to be conducted.
The paper will now be discussed further at Baltfish and an attempt at creating a joint position that can be put forward to the Council and COREPER made. However, this depends on consensus from Member States. A key weakness of the regionalised CFP thus far has been that it has led to a race to the bottom where agreement can only be reached in line with the lowest common denominator.
Much work needs to be done for the three European institutions to reach agreement on the salmon Plan, but now that Member States are engaging with the issue again there is a degree of momentum which can be built on.