Only two days ago, the Commission withdrew two important proposals that could have led to better protection and more sustainable fisheries for two species in trouble: Baltic salmon and European eel. Both proposals had been through first readings in the European Parliament and had support from many environmental organisations.
Proposal to safeguard Baltic salmon populations
On 15 October 2011, the Commission published a proposal for a multiannual plan for the Baltic salmon stock and the fisheries exploiting that stock (COM(2011)470).The objective of the proposal was to ensure that the conservation status of the entire Baltic salmon stock – that is all the unique salmon populations in the different Baltic rivers – is favourable and to provide for sustainable exploitation of them. The specific objectives of the initiative were to ensure that:
a) the Baltic salmon stock is exploited in a sustainable way according to the principle of maximum sustainable yield and
b) the genetic integrity and diversity of Baltic salmon is safeguarded.
This proposal had passed through 1st reading in the European Parliament based on a report from the Committee on fisheries from the Committee on fisheries (PECH) by rapporteur Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, and the Commission responded, but no position was agreed in the Council. The proposal was widely supported by environmental organisations in the region and beyond. The Commission has now withdrawn its proposal without further action.
Proposal to amend the eel regulation
In 2012, the Commission published a proposal (COM(2012)413) to amend the Eel Regulation (EC 1100/2007), in order to align it with the Lisbon Treaty and fulfil the new requirements of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), specifically articles 290 and 291 on delegated and implementing acts.
The proposal was considered in the European Parliament, resulting in the Lövin Report (A7-0242/2013) and the adoption of a 1st reading position.The Commission responded to that position but it was never considered in the Council. On 29 September the Commission formally withdrew the proposal.
The Commission recently published internal and external evaluations of the existing Eel Regulation (EC 1100/2007), stating that the Regulation is still “fit for purpose” even if implementation has been slow and patchy. However, it has not been aligned with the Lisbon Treaty or the Regulation on the Common Fisheries Policy (EU 1380/2013). At times it seems that the rules and regulations set for the management of commercial fish stocks do not apply to European eel.
Having withdrawn these two proposals, the Commission will need to clarify what will replace them, and how the existing regulations for these two fish species will be dealt with in terms of coherence with other EU policies for fisheries and the environment.
For a list of recent Commission withdrawals: