European lawmakers on May 29 approved a new multiannual plan to prevent overfishing of demersal species.

This is the second multiannual fisheries plan under the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Its purpose is to regulate the management of fishing for demersal species (those living near the bottom of the sea), which account for 70% of catches in the North Sea.

As outlined in a European Parliament press release, the new rules set the ranges (minimum-maximum) within EU ministers can set the yearly Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas. Also, officials will allow new scientific evidence to be quickly taken on board when fixing the quotas.

Most importantly, EU officials will be allowed to suspend and/or reduce fishing for one particular stock when scientific advice indicates a stock is in danger. And all measures will be based on available scientific advice.

“It was important to establish a basis for managing the North Sea fisheries, given the Brexit negotiations,” said Ulrike Rodust (S&D, DE). “This basis  was possible only through compromises – both between the political groups within this House and between the Parliament and the Council. Regarding relations with third countries, the plan now stipulates that in agreements on stocks of common interest, Common Fisheries Policy rules should take precedence.  This already applies to stocks shared with Norway, but will soon apply to those shared with the UK, too. ”

The regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal.