The Lisbon treaty literally transformed the workings of parliament's PECH committee when it came into force in 2009, with the new EU rulebook granting fisheries deputies extensive co-decision powers. Powers, which new chairman Alain Cadec warns, "Will be carefully used" to meet "citizens' expectations". The new PECH committee chief told the Parliament Magazine that, "Although the fisheries committee might be small in terms of MEP membership, needless to say it has very important powers."
Of all the issues facing committee members over the next few years, "the most challenging one", according to Cadec will be "implementation" of the reformed common fisheries policy (CFP). "We will pay particular attention to and be constantly involved in the CFP's implementation at every step of the procedure," says the French EPP deputy, adding that, "during this legislature my main concern as committee chair will be to ensure that the powers granted to the parliament in the implementation of the reformed CFP are effectively used."
"The fisheries sector has a very important economic aspect in coastal communities so it is therefore necessary to find the correct balance between environment preservation and competitiveness"
It's likely that the EU's all-new reformed CFP will primarily be implemented through delegated acts. As the new committee chair, Cadec says he will, "make sure that the European parliament is involved in the negotiations of delegated acts, even at the earliest stages of their preparation".
A key aspect of the new CFP is that fish stocks should be managed in a long-term manner through the use of so-called multiannual fisheries management plans. However, the MEPs and member states have been in deadlock for some time now on who will actually wield decision making powers on actual catch sizes within this framework. "We have to work on finding a settlement between the parliament and council regarding the multiannual plans. We cannot stay for much longer in this situation. It is completely inefficient for the fishery sector". Cadec also adds that issues relating to deep-sea trawling and drift nettings also require urgent institutional attention, while in the even shorter term he says he was very curious to hear what commissioner-designate Karmenu Vella had to say about what kind of policy he was looking to implement over the next five years, and, "how Vella intends to work alongside" Cadec's committee colleagues.
"When I saw that the fisheries portfolio and the environmental one were to be managed by the same commissioner, I became a bit concerned. It's true to say that fisheries and the environment are closely linked but fisheries cannot only be seen as a sub-aspect of the environmental sector. The fisheries sector has a very important economic aspect in coastal communities so it is therefore necessary to find the correct balance between environmental preservation and competitiveness. Both have to go hand-in-hand."
Alain Cadec is chair of parliament's fisheries committee